Written by Ryan Holt, ESLLC 2015-2016
With all the talk about climate change and finding new energy options, our number one concern should be diversifying our renewable energy efforts. This means straying off the well-worn course of wind and solar power. There are many other forms of energy production out there that are only concepts but can become a reality with enough attention and support.
The ocean covers 70% of the Earth’s surface. You’d think that we’d take more advantage of what it has to offer. There is constant movement in the ocean, through high and low tides, geothermal vents, and thermal cycling, the ocean is never still. Scientists have been investigating energy sources in the ocean for years, but the only major projects that have been commercially funded and accepted were off-shore wind farms.
There are plenty of lesser known projects that, if accepted, could help our energy problem immensely. One of these projects has been getting funding and could possibly hit the commercial market by 2020. It’s a wave energy converter called Wavestar Energy. It has legs that attach directly to the sea floor which supports the main platform. There are 20 arms attached to said platform with “floats” on the end of each one. These “floats” rise and fall as waves move through the area. The energy is transferred via hydraulics to power and run a generator, creating electricity. This concept is the first of its kind that can harness wave energy and manage a smooth electrical output. The platform can even be fitted with wind turbines to maximize its electric capacity.
The best part of this machine? Each Wavestar Energy system can produce up to 6 megawatts worth of electricity. This is equivalent to powering 4,000 average homes. So, as you can see we aren’t completely helpless in this clean energy crisis, but we have to take these seemingly outlandish ideas seriously if we have any hope of success.
For a short conceptual video click here