Tapping into Ocean Power

8 Mar 2017   Tidal, Waves

The oceans of the world are a vast unexploited source of clean, reliable and predictable renewable energy. Could this energy help replace fossil fuels and be a solution to climate change? Humans have been trying to harness ocean energy for centuries, beginning with a French engineer named Pierre-Simon Girard in 1799. The constant pounding of the waves and the ebb and flow of tidal currents, as well as other properties of the ocean, if harnessed, could produce 20,000 to 80,000 terawatt hours of electricity, according to the International Energy Agency. That is more than the world’s current energy consumption of almost 20,000 TWh The Electric Power Research Institute estimates that the waves breaking along the U.S. coastline alone could generate 2,640 TWh each year. But since shipping, fishing, naval operations or environmental concerns take precedence in certain areas, the amount of power that is “recoverable” is estimated at 1,170 […]

California eyes wind, wave potential

15 Oct 2016   Waves, Wind

California becomes the 14th coastal state in the country to form a task force examining the potential of wind and wave energy, the federal government said. The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management and California state representatives met in Sacramento for the first time to explore opportunities for wind and wave energy in state waters. A month ago, the federal government approved plans to set aside 10.9 million acres of land it manages in the California desert for conservation and renewable energy development. California Energy Commissioner Karen Douglas said the state now looked forward to additional work for offshore energy alongside the BOEM. “California is currently implementing a comprehensive set of climate change policies, including 50 percent renewable energy […]

U.S. reviews options for wave-energy test site

18 Aug 2016   Waves

As much as $40 million may be available to help support the development of a wave-energy testing facility in U.S waters, the Energy Department said. “If successful, the advancements made possible by this work will further America’s progress in proving wave energy as a viable source for our nation’s clean energy future,” the department reported. The Energy Department last year deployed a wave energy prototype dubbed Azura at a test site at Kaneohe Bay off the coast of Oahu, Hawaii. Developer Northwest Energy Innovations, with help from a $5 million federal grant, tested an earlier prototype off the coast of Oregon in 2014. The government said the pilot project in Hawaii will give federal researchers the chance to monitor a wave energy converter for potential commercial […]

Will Tidal and Wave Energy Ever Live Up to Their Potential?

21 Oct 2015   Waves

As solar and wind power grow, another renewable energy source with vast potential — the power of tides and waves — continues to lag far behind. But progress is now being made as governments and the private sector step up efforts to bring marine energy into the mainstream. In the Pentland Firth, a strait that separates the Orkney Islands from Northern Scotland, strong tidal currents have challenged sailors for centuries. But some of that marine energy is now being captured through a project known as MeyGen. This summer, the Atlantis group began construction on a submerged tidal turbine array consisting of four, three-bladed, seabed-mounted turbines, enough to deliver 6 megawatts to the grid by 2016 and power approximately 3,000 Scottish homes. By the early 2020s, Atlantis is planning to build 269 turbines in the firth, capable of generating 398 megawatts of electricity, enough to power roughly 200,000 homes. On […]

U.S. wades deeper into marine energy

8 Jul 2015   Waves

Testing a prototype wave energy device at a U.S. Navy site in Hawaii will provide information needed to determine commercial possibilities, the government said. The U.S. Energy Department deployed a wave energy prototype dubbed Azura at a test site at Kaneohe Bay off the coast of Oahu, Hawaii. Developer Northwest Energy Innovations, with help from a $5 million federal grant, tested an earlier prototype off the coast of Oregon in 2014. The government said the pilot project in Hawaii will give federal researchers the chance to monitor a wave energy converter for potential commercial deployment . With more than half the U.S. population living within 50 miles of a coastline, the government said marine and hydrokinetic technologies could provide an untapped renewable energy resource. “With […]

Chinese group to build world’s first tidal energy plant in Swansea Bay

A Chinese construction company has been chosen to build the world’s first tidal lagoon project for generating clean electricity in Britain.  The state-owned China Harbour Engineering Company has won the deal to undertake marine works on the £1bn Swansea Bay Tidal Project, which will deliver power to the National Grid, potentially enough for 120,000 homes.

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Generating Power From Tidal Lagoons

3 Nov 2014   Waves

Harvesting energy from the tides is hard to do, and the development of a new generation of sea-based power arrays lags far behind more widely used renewable technologies like wind and solar. But the company pushing a new project on the coast of Wales thinks its twist — a 21st-century update of traditional dam-based hydropower — will be much easier to bring to fruition. If it wins government permission to go forward, Tidal Lagoon Power Limited says the approach, known as tidal lagoon generation, could provide as much as 10 percent of Britain’s power from six of its projects within a decade. That is an optimistic assessment. Still, those hoping the seas will become a big contributor to the world’s future energy needs will be watching to see what happens in Swansea Bay, Wales. “If it’s put together and it’s a success, people will look for other […]

Ireland takes steps toward wave energy

27 Sep 2014   Ireland, Waves

Wave energy pioneer Pelamis said Friday it was put on the short list of companies slated for a role alongside Irish utility company ESB. The Irish government aims to install its first wave energy project, the five megawatt WestWave facilities, by 2018. It’s already secured support from the European Commission. Pelamis Wave Power said it’s been selected as one of the developers set to participate in the next stage of a competitive procurement process . Last year, the Pelamis P2 wave energy system was connected to the Scottish grid for an accumulated 7,500 hours, contributing 160 MW of electricity to the nation’s grid. The system works by converting wave energy into electricity using a snake-like device deployed offshore. Each unit in the system can generate as much as 100 kilowatts […]

Wave energy project set for Oregon’s coast

21 Jun 2014   Waves

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management says it took a major step forward with an effort to test utility-scale wave energy devices off the coast of Oregon. “Wave energy off the West Coast has incredible potential,” BOEM Acting Director Walter Cruickshank said in a statement Thursday. Researchers at Oregon State University aim to design, build and operate a project that could generate much as 20 megawatts of electricity from waves. The energy could be sent to the mainland through a subsea cable from a site four nautical miles off the coast of Newport. Cruickshank said his agency would work with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on project development. BOEM said it was now ready to move forward after determining there is no competitive interest in the area of the proposed research center. In early June, BOEM awarded a lease to Florida Atlantic University for marine hydrokinetic technology testing. Wave […]

More tidal energy set for Scottish coast

16 Jun 2014   United Kingdom, Waves

 A decision to invest more than $3 million on a tidal array planned for Scottish waters is a testament to its green energy strength, the energy minister said. Tidal technology company Nova Innovation and Belgian renewable energy company ELSA secured $3.1 million from European investors to build tidal arrays off the Scottish coast. “ELSA’s decision to invest in Scotland is a testament to the confidence felt by international investors to help develop the huge wave and tidal energy resources from the waters around the Scottish coast,” Scottish Energy Minister Fergus Ewing said in a statement Sunday. The tidal array, which will consist of five 100-kilowatt turbines, will be installed in three stages. Three of the turbines should be commissioned by the end of 2015. Scotland says it lays claim to about 25 percent of the wind and tidal energy potential and 10 percent of wave energy […]

Florida to host ‘paradigm-shifting’ ocean energy project

5 Jun 2014   Waves

The U.S. government announced plans to work with Florida Atlantic University to test a system to get energy from ocean currents, the first of its kind. The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management issued a lease to the university to test a turbine system driven by ocean currents. “This is the first time a lease has been issued to test ocean current energy equipment in federal waters,” acting BOEM Director Walter Cruickshank said in a statement Tuesday. The demonstration project envisions hydrokinetic turbines deployed about 10 nautical miles off the coast of Fort Lauderdale, Fla. BOEM said “multiple” test devices, anchored to the sea floor, could generate as much as 100 kilowatts of power from wave energy. The university’s president, John Kelly , said the project is “paradigm-shifting development” in the race for new renewable sources of energy. A small-scale research project was conducted in 2013. An […]

Why Wave Power Has Lagged Far Behind as Energy Source

2 May 2014   Waves

Researchers have long contended that power from ocean waves could make a major contribution as a renewable energy source. But a host of challenges, including the difficulty of designing a device to capture the energy of waves, have stymied efforts to generate electricity from the sea. It’s not difficult to imagine what wind energy looks like — by this point we have all seen the towering turbines dotting the landscape. The same goes for solar power and the panels that are spreading across rooftops worldwide. But there is another form of renewable energy, available in huge quantities, that doesn’t really call to mind anything at all: What does wave power technology look like? Wind and solar power have taken off in the past decade or two, as costs have come down rapidly and threats from climate change have made clear the need to transition away from fossil fuels. Meanwhile, numerous […]

U.S. probes waves as source of energy

30 Apr 2014   Waves

More than $10 million will be invested into a program that will test the ability to convert wave energy into a source of power, the U.S. Energy Department said. The Energy Department announced the test program for wave energy off the coast of Hawaii. “The Energy Department-supported demonstrations at the U.S. Navy’s wave energy test site off Hawaii’s island of Oahu will help develop reliable wave energy options and collect important performance and cost data for wave energy conversion devices,” it said in a Monday statement . Two prototype wave energy converters will be deployed in open waters at depths of 196 feet and 260 feet. The demonstration projects are aimed at examining wave energy technology that’s in the late stage of development or close to full-scale operations. The test program will run for one year. The project gives the federal government the ability […]

China’s New Wager: Pulling Energy From the Ocean

1 Apr 2014   China, Waves

A race is under way to unlock one of the world’s biggest untapped sources of clean energy—the ocean—with China emerging as an important testing ground. That could heighten competition with Western companies, especially if Chinese businesses begin using technologies developed with joint-venture partners to expand rapidly. The European Union so far has led efforts to harness the sea to make electricity, for which there are three principal techniques: underwater turbines that draw power from the ebb and flow of tides, surface-based floats that rely on wave motion and systems that exploit differences in water temperature. The world’s first commercial, grid-connected tidal-flow generator was installed in Northern Ireland in 2008. Germany’s AG , a big investor in wave and tidal power, predicts that tidal currents alone could someday power 250 million households world-wide. France’s SA also is developing the technology. But with 11,000 miles of coastline rich with energy […]

Two New Ideas in Wave and Tidal Power

31 Mar 2014   Waves

IEEE Spectrum has an article on some new ocean energy technologies – Two New Ideas in Wave and Tidal Power . The wave power idea is closer than the tidal energy one to rollout, with a planned open-water test for this summer. M3 Wave dispenses with all the problems that come with buoys or other above-and-below-the-surface designs by mooring a simple device to the ocean floor. The device, pictured above, involves two air chambers: as a wave passes over the top of the first chamber, the pressure inside increases, forcing air through a passageway to the second chamber. Inside the passageway is a turbine, so the passing air is actually what generates the electricity. As the wave continues on, it raises the pressure inside the second chamber, pushing the air back through the turbine—importantly, it is a bidirectional turbine—and back into the first chamber. Another wave, another cycle. Repeat.The […]

Peak Energy: New Tubes Using Hydraulic Pistons Could Harness Ocean Waves for Energy

29 Oct 2013   Waves

Inhabitat has a post on a new wave power design – New Tubes Using Hydraulic Pistons Could Harness Ocean Waves for Energy . The cylinders ride the peaks and troughs of waves, which spins concentric shafts working in pairs to push and pull hydraulic fluid (similar way to how a piston works). This double action then creates pressure which is stored in accumulators and released at a capped limit into a hydraulic motor. Etherington, who is an engineering graduate from Brunel University in London, got his inspiration for the device when he was kite surfing off the coast of Cumbria and he noticed that the waves rarely moved in a predictable fashion. Replicating the unpredictable conditions of the ocean was one of the main challenges when testing the device. Etherington had to use data from buoys moored in the Orkney Islands which were used to create suitable waves in […]