Environmental Business and Energy Information Services
A new book on Renewable Energy Fuels:
Wave Energy is the energy generated through the power of the ocean wave. It is a renewable energy (i.e. it cannot be depleted) as long as we have ocean wave. It therefore provides a good alternative to the traditional energy sources - the fossil fuels.
Wave, like most other renewable energy sources such as solar, wind etc, derives its energy from the Sun (i.e. from solar energy). Sun heats up the air and the differential heating results in wind. When wind blows over the ocean, it creates the wave energy.
Besides being renewable, wave energy is clean. It does not generate pollutions as fossil fuels do. Consequently, it does not generate greenhouse gases (CO2, methane (CH4) etc. responsible for global warming, nor SO2 responsible for acid rain). Adopting wave energy is therefore environmental friendly.
Scientists believe that, if properly harnessed, wave energy alone can meet the energy requirements of the entire World, since about 71 percent of the World's land mass is covered by water. The wave energy from this vast amount of water has been said to be capable of producing twice the amount of energy being currently generated in the entire World (World Energy Council). How to Harness Wave Energy?
The technologies for harnessing wave energy are still being developed by engineers in the energy industry. The methods are not anywhere near as advanced as those used to harness wind, solar and other renewable energy sources. At least 3 of some of these approaches will be briefly examined here. They all aim at generating the power that drives a turbine which in turn drives a generator that generates electricity.
Generate Air ---> Use air to drive turbine ---> Turbine spins the electromagnetic ROTOR inside/close to a STATOR leading to production of electricity. Same principle as other power plants.
The 3 methods currently in common use are:
- Oscillating Water Column Method (examples: LIMPET Plant by WAVEGEN in Scotland and similar project by OCEANLINX)
- Pelamis wave energy converter for Offshore wave energy generation by Pelamis Wave Power Ltd
- CETO by Renewable Energy Holdings plc.
Additional information are being added to this site. In the mean time, the videos of the 3 methods mentioned above are as follows:
Click the following link (from Greenpeace's website) to see the Animation of LIMPET Plant
Some of the disadvantages of wave energy include:
- Continuous availability of waves (which is rare in most cases);
- Siting to suitable for areas with strong waves;
- Device should be able to withstand very rough weather
- Energy Resources - Contain information about various forms of energy
- Department of Energy - Energy Sources - United States Department of Energy
- The Energy Story - Energy Quest of California Energy Commission
- EIA Energy Kids - Energy Kids: Energy Information Administration - United States Environmental Information Administration
- Sources of Renewable Energy - Website of the Pembina Institute