ocean wave energy
A team of researchers want to make the ocean an affordable source of renewable energy. Engineers at the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology have already harnessed the energy of ocean currents using underwater turbines. Now, the group targeting the kinetic power of waves. The team preparing to install turbines where the energy of the ocean is most apparent.
Particularly in Japan, if you go around the beach you’ll find many tetrapods, said, Tsumoru Shintake, a professor at OIST. Tetrapods are pyramid-like concrete structures designed to dampen the force of incoming waves and protect beaches from erosion.
Researchers plan to replace tetrapods with turbines designed to convert wave energy into electricity.
“Surprisingly, 30 percent of the seashore in mainland Japan covered with tetrapods and wave breakers,” Shintake said. Using just 1% of the seashore of mainland Japan generates about 10 gigawats of energy, which is equivalent to 10 nuclear power plants.
Wave Energy Converter
Shintake and his colleagues began designing their turbine prototype in 2013. They named the technology the Wave Energy Converter (WEC). The turbines designed to withstand the force of large waves generated by typhoons and big ocean storms.
The turbine’s blades inspired by dolphin fins strong but flexible. The poston which the turbine mounted is also flexible like a flower. It designs to bend but not break. The stem of a flower bends back against the wind.
WECs rise just above the sea’s surface when the ocean calm, but will submerged by onrushing waves. Because the blades only spin but so fast, fish who get caught will be able to escape.
The engineers are now preparing to install their first prototypes, half-scale models, in the ocean. The turbines will power LED fixtures to demonstrate their potential.
Shintake said, I hope these turbines will work hard quietly, and nicely, on each beach on which they installed.
More information: [OIST]