While winds may die and clouds may obscure the sun, nothing can stop the rhythmic lapping of ocean waves. Now, an Australian company hopes to harness that power and covert it to usable electricity with the most powerful wave-energy generator ever created. And this is just their small-scale prototype.
Dubbed the Oceanlinx, this 1 MW "greenwave" generator uses the oscillating motion of waves to power something called a Denniss-Auld turbine. This unique bi-directional airflow device, custom-built for the Oceanlinx, generates high-pressure air currents to drive an electrical turbine as the waves inside the concrete base pulse up and down.
But what's really awesome is that the entire device assembly is constructed of flat-pack reinforced concrete and is designed to withstand one in 100 year storms. What's more, these things don't require any special moorings of site preparation and can simply be set on the seabed in about 30 to 50 feet of water.
An added advantage is that the Denniss-Auld Turbine can easily be retrofitted for either electricity generation or desalinisation operations using readily available commercial components. And since the turbine is the only moving part and rests out of reach of the corrosive seawater, maintenance costs are kept to a minimum.
The $US126 million program is being funded by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) and recently installed the 1 MW prototype in Port MacDonnell, South Australia. The unit will undergo a year of reliability testing before receiving the agency's stamp of approval. If successful, the Oceanlinx company hopes to scale up the technology into a commercialised 10MW unit that can be placed further offshore. [Oceanlinx via Cleantechnica]