Industries are becoming better at invention by creating more & more accurate devices for harnessing solar energy; the latest being a spine-like floating device that harnesses power from the waves and produces electricity. Over the past decade, Sea Wave Energy Limited (SWEL), a Research and Development company based in the United Kingdom and Cyprus, has been working to develop a unique spine-like Wave Energy Converter (WEC) for harnessing the ocean’s enormous energy. After much research and testing, a concept design was released in January 2022 to stimulate the mechanism of its model. Everyone has held their hopes for the future of such a sustainable source of energy; quite rightfully so. Let’s find out why!
The device looks like a spine and is known as a Waveline Magnet.
Several floating platforms are linked via a spine-like central power system and the device comprises several such floating platforms. They create a modular and flexible device that follows the wave movement seamlessly. Its movement along with waves instead of against them prevents it from damage as well.
- Waveline Magnet is lightweight with a simple design enabling high cost-cutting on transportation and manufacturing. It has a thickness of a few centimeters and is pretty robust despite having very low mass.
- Repairing and maintenance are easy owing to its simplicity of design.
- As per the statement of SWEL, the device is made from manageable recyclable materials, mostly reinforced plastics.
- The platform is even safe for maintenance workers to walk on while monitoring the performance of the same.
Up till now, this device was an affordable one with low maintenance cost. With the new flexible and modular design, energy generators seamlessly follow the movement of waves. According to Sea Wave Energy Limited, this allows the device to control how much energy to extract from the wave in a non-disruptive and controlled manner.
Also Read: 5 Major Advantages of Wave Energy
SWEL estimates that under conditions and forces, as laid down by the Neutral Displacement Theory, a single Waveline Magnet can produce power up to 100MW. During in-field testing, it was suggested with bigger waves, the device can harness more energy. The research team mentions, A raw mechanical power output down to 1p/kWh, crushing the wave industry reference value, putting the technology at its full capability at par with fossil fuels.
They claim that a single Waveline Magnet device, scaled to suit the wave climate at EMEC, would satisfy more than the hub’s current grid-connection capabilities.
After years of testing this wave energy converter in a controlled environment, the spine-like Waveline Magnet was tested for the first time in a real environment for harnessing the ocean’s energy. Larnaca Bay in Cyprus witnessed the device in 2022 during its open sea trials. However, further validation is needed and there are possibilities for an improved model. With everything on board, it is expected to be one of the most efficient and low-cost wave energy generators in near future.
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