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Energy from Ocean Waves: I didn´t know they had gotten this far

image credit: Tom Zind
Mark Silverstone's picture
Principal JMP Services AS

30+ years in Oil & Gas Industry Field of Interest: Environmental issues in general; waste management issues in particular. 

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  • Sep 26, 2022
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This article in EC&M (Electrical Construction & Maintenance) describes a recent successful trial of a device for generating power from waves:

CalWave Power Technologies, Inc., Oakland, Calif., said on September 1 that a submersible device it engineered to generate power from waves demonstrated strong viability during a 10-month deployment in San Diego coastal waters.

The device, employing the company’s patented xWave technology, generated power and data that was transmitted via undersea cable to the nearby Scripps Institution of Oceanography research pier. Preliminary test results confirmed many key aspects of the design, including demonstration of extensive uptime, the ability to withstand heavy seas, autonomous operation, corrosion resistance, and safety.

The next step:

CalWave’s next mission is to build a 100kW version for deployment at a groundbreaking wave energy test facility under construction off the Oregon coast. Its technology will join that of other developers at PacWave South, the nation’s first commercial-scale, fully permitted, grid-connected wave energy test site that will be operating in the Pacific Ocean, seven miles southwest of Newport, Ore. Developed by Oregon State University, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the state of Oregon, the $80-million project is structured to facilitate the simultaneous study of multiple wave energy generation concepts and give developers a quicker pathway to testing their designs.

100kW means that they are getting serious, I think. 

In any case, it is getting funded by DOE:

DOE has deepened its interest in wave energy as part of its effort to promote exploration of expanded renewable energy concepts. It says wave energy is abundant and unique in its high degree of predictability, opening the door to development that could be located close to load centers.

I don´t think it will be a substitute for solar or wind, at least anytime soon. But it may one day provide a source of dependable power at scale.  At this stage, answers to questions of cost and reliability are yet to be determined. 

Frankly, after reading about many attempts over the years, I had lost faith that such a generator could be a significant part of our energy resources. Now, maybe...

Discussions
Michael Keller's picture
Michael Keller on Oct 3, 2022

The practical and financial obstacles are formidable. That being said, in conjunction with batteries, might be useful for small islands where electrical energy costs are already extremely high. Unlikely to be competitive in regions with access to more conventional forms of electrical generation.

Mark Silverstone's picture
Thank Mark for the Post!
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