Wave energy generator – a floating, flexible, modular and massively scalable wave power generation idea under testing in Scotland
Wave energy is produced when electricity generators are placed on the surface of the ocean. The energy provided is most often used in desalination plants, power plants and water pumps. Energy output is determined by wave height, wave speed, wavelength, and water density. To date there are only a handful of experimental wave generator plants in operation around the world.
What’s the problem?
Wave energy (video 1:45) – get electricity the from sea waves.
- Ask – How can the energy of waves be captured and converted into electricity for other uses? Is there a practical solution that makes use of the kinetic energy from waves? Does using wave action to generate electricity impact the environment? Can it reduce or prevent erosion?
- Imagine – Using flowing water to turn a wheel to provide energy has been in use for hundreds of years. Designing a similar generator to use waves must take into account the two-way action of ways. What are some of the “machines” that only work in one direction? Is this suitable for use in a wave generator? How can the system be big enough and robust enough to withstand storms?
- Design, Build – Wave turbines, essentially a rotating arrangement with two three or more bladed turbines are produce electricity by using the power of sea wave to drive an electrical generator. Sea wave passes over the blades, generating lift and exerting a turning force. The rotating blades turn a shaft inside the nacelle, which goes into a gearbox .The power output of the wave generator goes to transformer, which converts the electricity from generator at around 700-1000V, to the appropriate voltage for the power collection system, typically 33kv.
- Improve – Wave energy technology has evolved rapidly over the last three decades with increasing rotor diameters and the use of power electronics to allow operation at variable rotor speed.
- scalable – anything whose size can be changed.
- ratchet – a mechanical device that allows continuous linear or rotary motion in only one direction while preventing motion in the opposite direction.
- gearbox – uses gears and gear trains to provide speed and torque conversions from a rotating power source to another device.
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