Could Full-Service Wave Energy Parks Be the Key to Generating Clean Energy?

Wind energy is taking flight.
Irmak Bayrakdar
Seabased's wave energy generation procedure.Seabased

As climate change takes its toll on our planet, sustainable energy sources are seeing a surge, with wave energy being one of the most promising choices. Countries around the world including England, Scotland, United States, Spain, Portugal, Italy, and Russia have been working on building wave parks in a bid to generate clean energy from waves.

Even a company in Denmark that had previously focused on the development of wind turbines, directed its resources to pioneer wave energy generation with eventual hopes to create energy production parks back in 2015. Considering that Denmark, as a whole, has many engineers and companies pushing wave generation forward, with a few different concepts already detailed in paper, this was no surprise.

The company had plans to change how the world viewed energy production and efficient energy capture by placing wave energy capturing devices in between wind turbines, combining both wind and wave energy.

Ever since then, this model for wave energy generation has slowly but steadily garnered popularity in the industry. There's no doubt that there is a lot of energy in waves, as the undulating of the water surface can pack a pretty powerful punch. That's why wave energy technologies could see widespread use in the energy industry in the near future, and we're here for it.

wave energy park
Source: Wavestar Energy

The Danish company Wavestar had initial plans to put a 1 MW wave energy machine on the market, signaling the future of widespread wave power, with hopes to continue to scale the model up to a singular 6 MW machine capable of powering over 4000 homes.

wave floats energy
Source: Wavestar Energy

As the next step in carrying the technology further, Wavestar trialed and was working on its new PTO (power take off) system which would help increase the efficiency of its wave energy machine. The company stated that this digital hydraulic system was tested to measure its effect on wave motion between 0-3 meters that is simulated on a full-scale test apparatus at Aalborg University. 

However, the company website announced that the machine is now paused and currently under rebuilding. It will hopefully be extended with two more floats with the addition of its new state-of-the-art power take-off system (PTO). 

In the meantime, there have been other companies that have successfully implemented wave energy production projects such as Seabased and Pelamis. Seabased's modular generator system offers standard 2MW building blocks with which you can build wave power parks. And Pelamis' Agucadoura Wave Farm located in Portugal made headlines with being the world’s first commercial wave energy project. The farm started delivering 2.25MW of electricity produced by three Pelamis generators in September 2008, according to Power Technology. There is also a low-cost and durable model built by European engineers to harness wave energy with a published study.

Aside from it all, the biggest question that remains in the industry is what will become the most efficient way to harness green energy. Wave energy is certainly a solution, but ultimately it will come down to which sustainable source can produce the most electricity the cheapest. While  Wave generation parks in the middle of the ocean are likely coming to the coast of Denmark, just another way in which the future of green, sustainable energy is being advanced.

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