We already know that it is possible to generate electrical energy using ocean waves. Many have already tried to transform the movements of waves into renewable energy with varying degrees of success.
This time it’s an australian company who decided to give it a shot. The company is called WSE or Wave Swell Energy and according to officials, she would have found the ideal solution to generate energy from the waves. WSE uses a prototype called UniWave 200 to generate electricity and to power homes. It’s about a transportable marine platform able to generate 200kW of energy through the use of an artificial “vent”.
According to Stephanie Thornton of the Australian Ocean Energy Group, it’s really the first project that succeeded in producing electricity for consumersand which proves that the exploitation of the energy of the sea works.
How the platform works
According to information provided by the company, the generator works by creating an artificial vent in what technicians call an oscillating water column.
Waves enter a concrete chamber and are naturally pushed upwards as this chamber fills. Then the level goes down again, and this movement forces the air to pass through a turbine. It is this turbine that generates electricity.
According to the company, what makes their design unique is that the turbine is unidirectional, which makes it simpler. It also reduces costs and produces more energy.
The first results are promising
The UniWave 200 was installed at King Island last year. It’s a small island off the south coast of Australia, and the facility was able providing power to the island’s grid steadily for 12 months now.
According to Paul Geason, CEO of WSE, the results met and sometimes even exceeded their expectations. He explained that the platform generates around 40 kW of power under reasonable conditions. By extrapolating, the amount of energy is of the order of megawatt hours over a 24 hour period. This means that the installation can theoretically supply 200 households with suitable conditions.
As it is still a prototype, the device is still small in size and the amount of energy produced is still quite low. But Geason said commercial versions will be up to 5 times larger.