Wave energy converter doubles electricity production in laboratory tests


(archive photo)

Posted on Sep 30, 2021, 8:28 PM by

The maritime executive

Australian and Chinese researchers have developed a prototype technology that they believe can double the power recovered from ocean waves. In lab tests, they report that they have been successful in increasing the power drawn from the ocean with a design that is simpler and less expensive to deploy. If successful in a large-scale model test, the researchers believe their technology could be key to commercializing power generation from ocean waves.

“Our prototype technology overcomes some of the main challenges that have kept the wave energy industry from developing on a large scale,” said lead researcher Professor Xu Wang at RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia. “With further development, we hope that this technology could be the foundation for a new thriving renewable energy industry offering significant environmental and economic benefits.

According to Professor Wang and his collaborators at Beihang University in China, the challenges of developing technologies that can efficiently extract natural energy and withstand the harsh environment have “kept wave energy stuck at the stadium. experimental ”.

Most of the concepts explored for wave energy production use a buoy-type device that recovers the energy by moving up and down with the waves, but must be synchronized with the movement of the waves. This involves a series of sensors, actuators and control processors.

The RMIT prototype naturally floats up and down without the need for sensors. It uses counter-rotating double turbine wheels. Two turbine wheels are stacked and spin in opposite directions. They are connected to a generator through a transmission system driven by shaft and belt. The generator is inside a buoy above the water to keep it out of corrosive seawater.

“We know it works in our labs, so the next steps are to evolve this technology and test it in a tank or under real ocean conditions,” Wang said. In laboratory tests, the wave energy converter created by RMIT was twice as efficient at recovering energy than any similar technology developed to date.

According to RMIT, wave energy could play an important role in the production of renewable energy. They reported that it has been estimated that each year the power of coastal waves around the world is equivalent to the annual production of global electricity.

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