Converting Wave Energy into Electricity – Wave Energy Conversion

In a world ruled by fossil fuels, converting wave energy into electricity might seem far-fetched, but ocean power is gradually joining the ranks of wind and solar as a source of renewable energy. According to the Electric Power Research Institute (2005), ocean energy conversion appears to be the most promising and closest to commercial production and may be economically feasible in the near future.

The popular energy sources in the world today, the fossil fuels—including coal, natural gas, and oil, provide about 95% of the world’s total energy. However they contain many environmental and social issues.

The Environmental impact is so dangerous that the burning processes of these fossil fuels is considered to be the largest contributing factor to the release of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Nowadays, it is even believed that energy providers are the largest source of atmospheric pollution. There are many types of harmful outcomes which result from the process of converting fossil fuels to energy. Some of these include air pollution, water pollution, accumulation of solid waste, not to mention the land degradation and human illness.

To prevent and reduce the damage caused by use of polluting energy sources, the world began to turn to natural sources to produce energy; the most interesting and promising among them is the wave energy conversion.

Wave power conversion process is perhaps the least intrusive of all the renewable energy technologies. Wave power is very environmentally friendly. It does not create any waste, does not have any CO2 emissions or criteria pollutants, there is no noise pollution, no visual impact and it does not threaten marine life.

Although the technology is limited to coastal locations its potential impact is large because of the large concentration of population along the coasts and the compatibility of most coastal locations to the implementation of wave power. Proponents claim that the energy cost for producing electricity via wave power conversion technologies will be competitive with conventional power within a very short time.

Wave power is renewable energy which is environmentally friendly. Unlike most of renewable energy resources, wave energy can produce power all the year. The wave energy is stored in the oceans worldwide and highly concentrated near the ocean surface. As a result, Wave energy conversion will be a very competitive energy resource in the nearest future.

Ocean energy conversion has a high potential to be captured and used for generating electricity as the technology develops further. There is a lot of energy stored in waves and only a small part of the wave power is used for commercial electricity generation today.

It is clear that this is the best time for wave energy, and there are already few technologies that are ready to be deployed and which seem to be very promising, such as the ” Power Wing” and the “Wave Clapper”, of Eco Wave Power Company, headed by David Leb.


Why is there an urgent need to implement wave energy technologies?

Can anyone in the 21st century doubt the urgent need for wave energy technologies anymore? The severe shortage of electricity all around the world and our growing environmental consciousness all point to a new dawn in energy.

Although, the world’s electrical energy market is at $800-billion-a-year and rising. It has been estimated that there are at least 1.6 billion people still living without electricity today, and the world demand in developing countries is doubling every eight years.

The developing countries had spent as much as $40 to $60 billion a year on electricity by the end of the 20th century (G8, RETF, 2001), and still approximately 40% of the population in these countries remains without access to electricity. This means that the number of people throughout the world who have no electricity has hardly changed since 1970 (UNDP, 2000, p. 374).

In order to meet that demand, while limiting production of green house gases, wave energy technologies must be developed and implemented.

wave energy technologiesWave energy technologies have many clear advantages:

First of all, Two-thirds of the world’s population – 4 billion people – lives within 400km of the coast. Just over half the world’s population – around 3.2 billion – occupy a coastal strip 200km wide. Figures like these, and increasing human numbers, make the need for wave energy technologies’ implementation abundantly clear.

Second, today, we’re witnessing alarming increases in oil prices and a disappointing revival in coal consumption. A disaster on both fronts.

Even BP says we only have 150 years of coal left; 55 years of gas and 30 years of oil (2006). The global demand is increasing, and with it CO2 emissions (both are expected to rise by 60% within the next 25 years). As opposed, Wave energy technologies, are non polluting and some (For example: Eco Wave Power, headed by David Leb) offer electricity production for cheaper prices than traditional energy generation technologies , which reflects also on Short time scale between investing in the modular construction and benefiting from the revenue.

Any Wave energy technology is Renewable and sustainable resource, which reduces dependence upon fossil fuels , produces no liquid or solid pollution and when applied correctly has little or no visual impact.

Third, Sea waves are the result of the concentration of energy from various natural sources like wind, tides, ocean currents, sun, moon, and earth rotation. Therefore, Sea wave energy has the highest concentration of renewable energy, which can be extracted by a reliable wave energy technology.

While wind energy currently dominates the renewable energy industry, marine energy also holds huge potential. Wave energy contains roughly 1000 times the kinetic energy of wind, Therefore allowing smaller and less conspicuous wave energy devices to produce power.

In Conclusion, it’s not hard to see why wave energy technologies should be urgently implemented and what kind of demand wave power technologies will have in the nearest future.


Wave Energy Catching – Harvesting Energy from Sea Waves

The sea has long been seen as a source of energy, and the idea of harvesting energy from sea waves was first patented in 1799, in Paris, by Girard and his son. Whereas in 1910 there was already a first attempt to apply the wave energy generation concept by Bochaux-Praceique, who had harvested energy from sea waves, to power his house in Royan, near Bordeaux, France.

However, even further in the past, waves represented an enormous potential source of renewable energy. In the Middle Ages (1200-1500 AD) farmers used to trap sea water in mill ponds and use it to power water mills as the tide dropped.

Over the years, engineers have begun to look at harvesting wave power on a larger, industrial scale, but work on harvesting wave energy took a serious turn after the oil embargo in 1972.
For example, over a ten-year period from 1974 to 1983, the British government spent approximately $20 million on a national program for research about harvesting energy from sea waves and its’ development, most of it administered by the Energy Technology Support Unit at Harwell (Wave Energy Technology Assessment for Grid-Connected Utility Applications, George Hagerman and Ted Heller, June 1988)

In the late 1990s, it has become clear that the technology of harvesting energy from waves has advanced to the point where reliable and cheap electricity from the oceans is becoming a real possibility.

Nowadays, is seems that the UK  has a small technical lead in the wave energy sector, but internationally, the industry is experiencing rapid growth and other countries (e.g., Denmark, Japan, Australia, Ireland, Netherlands, Portugal and Israel) are also developing technologies, meant to harvest electricity from sea waves.

Some of these are pilot schemes, while others are commercial projects.  An Israeli company, Eco Wave Power, for example, headed by David Leb, has tested an innovative and promising wave energy technology, in cooperation with the Hydro Mechanical Institute of Kiev.  According to the predictions, such Technology will produce electricity which will be cheaper than traditional energy generation methods, and also more cost-efficient than other renewable energy sources.

The cost of harvesting wave energy has decreased over the past 10 to 15 years and ongoing technological developments mean the predicted costs of wave energy are continually being reduced.

An independent market assessment estimated the world-wide potential of wave energy economic contribution in the electricity market to be in the order of 2,000 TWh/year, which is about 12% of world electricity consumption (based on 2009 data) and is comparable to the amount of electricity currently produced world-wide by large scale hydroelectric projects.
In terms of market value, the potential market for harvesting energy from ocean waves is worth about $1 trillion worldwide, according to the World Energy Council.

Only in the UK, there is potentially a huge (£500 billion plus) export market for wave energy harvesting devices, especially for those companies that develop the technology first.


Eco Wave Power is Taking the Fast Track to Success

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