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The Green Power of Waves

The Beauty of Ocean Waves Powering Your Life

a-sunset-waveHydrokinetic power is renewable and does not release airborne pollutants or greenhouse gases. Also, unlike wind and solar power, hydrokinetic energy can provide continuous power that utilities can depend on any time of day. Achieved from flowing water from rivers, ocean currents, tidal streams and artificial waterways such as canals. The flowing water currents drive rotors in turbines to generate electricity, just as breezes drive rotors on wind farms.

The power of ocean waves is a form of hydrokinetic energy. In September 2008, Oregon State University in collaboration with Columbia Power Technologies (CPT) and the U.S. Navy, completed a series of very successful ocean testing of ocean-buoy generators which convert the movement of waves into energy. CPT is now driving these efforts to commercialization, and OSU will continue to partner with them in a supporting/research role.

waveenergyThe OSU Wave Energy team developed several novel direct-drive prototypes including a Permanent Magnet Linear Generator Buoy, a Permanent Magnet Rack and Pinion Generator Buoy, and a Contact-less Force Transmission Generator Buoy. These buoys are designed to be anchored one to three miles offshore, in typical water depths of greater than 100 feet, where the buoys will experience gradual, repetitive ocean swells. Inside the Permanent Magnet Linear Generator Buoy, the wave motion causes specially designed electrical coils to move through a magnetic field, inducing voltages and generating electricity. In the Permanent Magnet Rack and Pinion Generator Buoy, linear to rotary conversion is developed as an extension of the concept of permanent magnet gears. The Contact-less Force Transmission Generator Buoy exhibits linear force transmission using large, high-strength permanent magnets configured in a “piston.” The motion of the piston is then transformed to rotation using a ball screw to drive a permanent magnet rotary generator. Advanced designs of these prototypes are also being developed to achieve higher efficiencies and power output performance. The OSU researchers are also interested in small scale wave energy generators, which could be integrated into boat anchor systems to power a variety of small craft electronic devices. These similar small-scale systems could enable ocean data collection and monitoring buoys to become self-powered.

13298_dia_0_opt-picEach buoy has a power cable dropping down along the tether to the anchor, which is then routed to a central junction box to be located on the sea floor at the front of a “wave park”. At the central junction box, the unregulated voltages from all of the buoys will be combined and conditioned as regulated DC for delivery to the shore through a single submarine cable. At the shore substation, the DC power provided by the wave park is inverted to AC, and connected to the grid.

Where wave heights average 3.5 meters, the power converts to 50kW per meter of crest length and where the average wave heights are 1.5 meters, the power converts to 10kW per meter of crest length. Using the Oregon coast for comparison, considering an overall average of 30kw/m, and an Oregon coastline of 460km, the total Oregon coast raw wave energy potential is in the range of 13,800MW. The average electrical energy consumption in the state is about 5-6000 MW (with the average home usage about 1.3 kw), thus the 13,800 MW of raw wave energy can have a significant impact on Oregon’s renewable energy portfolio.

Oh, I like the sum of those waves!

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18 Responses to “The Green Power of Waves”

  1. Says:

    The Green Power of Waves | Forced Green…

    Hydrokinetic power is renewable and does not release airborne pollutants or greenhouse gases…

  2. spygrrl Says:

    i don’t understand how you can sooo get me excited every time i visit your blog… but you sure do!

  3. Heath Says:

    Considering how much of the world’s population lives within 50 miles of an ocean, this is a big step forward.

  4. Linda Says:

    Hi spygrrl … LOL! you are just needing information and how to go green! Right!

    Hi Heath …. I think so and it certainly uses a resource that is plentiful and sustainable.

  5. Sadie Says:

    That’s really neat! This is a great advancement.

    Sadies last blog post..Swine Flu

  6. oicned Says:

    Good day!

    I added your site to my EC drop list ->

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  7. Linda Says:

    Hi oicned … thank you!

  8. wilson Says:

    What’s good about the wave power is it renewable and we won’t having the problem of not getting sufficient power, as the waves exist from time to time every single day!

    wilsons last blog post..Make Sure Your Children’s Clothing Are Not Too Sexy!

  9. Linda Says:

    Hi Wilson … You are correct and we have plenty!

  10. Lynn Says:

    I learn something every time I come here. It’s so nice to read about renewable energy sources…especially ones that in abundant supply.

    Lynns last blog post..Catching Up

  11. Linda Says:

    Hi Lynn …. thank you for your kind words….

  12. SMTV Live » Offshore Marine Management Says:

    […] The Green Power of Waves | Forced Green […]

  13. Shelby | Heating Elements Says:

    I have just come across this site and have found it informative and interesting with some great content.

    This is an amazing achievement, lets just hope that it all works out for the positive.

  14. Linda Says:

    Hi Shelby … Just hang in there and watch. Its coming!

  15. binge eating treatments Says:

    Hi Linda! This is a great post. I just wish that most countries would take advantage of this unending power source. This is definitely a good and beneficial way to go green.

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  16. Linda Says:

    Hi Gerry … It certainly is and there are some countries besides Australia going in this direction once testing is completed.

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