Wave device could deliver clean energy to thousands of homes

Wave device could deliver clean energy to thousands of homes
Scale trials are held in the FloWave facility at the University of Edinburgh of a wave energy converter device that could provide power to thousands of homes. Credit: Universities of Trento, Bologna and Edinburgh and Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna Pisa

A wave energy technology is being developed that could help generate low-cost electricity for thousands of houses.

The costs less than conventional designs, has fewer moving parts, and is made of durable materials. It is designed to be incorporated into existing ocean energy systems and can convert wave power into electricity.

Small scale experiments in an ocean simulator show that one full-size device could generate the equivalent of 500kW, enough electricity for about 100 homes. Engineers say that their design could be used in fleets of low-cost, easily maintained structures at sea within decades, to take advantage of powerful in Scottish waters.

Engineers from the University of Edinburgh and from Italy developed their device—known as a Dielectric Elastomer Generator (DEG) - using flexible rubber membranes. It is designed to fit on top of a vertical tube which, when placed in the sea, partially fills with water that rises and falls with wave motion.

As waves pass the tube, the water inside pushes trapped air above to inflate and deflate the generator on top of the device. As the membrane inflates, a voltage is generated. This increases as the membrane deflates, and electricity is produced. In a commercial device, this would be transported to shore via underwater cables.

Wave device could deliver clean energy to thousands of homes
Schematic image of a wave energy converter device being developed by researchers at the Universities of Trento, Bologna and Edinburgh and Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna Pisa. Credit: Universities of Trento, Bologna and Edinburgh and Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna Pisa

A scaled-down version of the system was tested in the FloWave facility at the University of Edinburgh, a 25m diameter circular tank that can reproduce any combination of ocean waves and currents.

The system could replace conventional designs, involving complex air turbines and expensive moving parts.

The study, published in Proceedings of the Royal Society A, was carried out in collaboration with the Universities of Trento, Bologna and Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna Pisa in Italy. It was supported by the European Union Horizon 2020 programme and Wave Energy Scotland.

Professor David Ingram, of the University of Edinburgh's School of Engineering, who took part in the study, said: "Wave energy is a potentially valuable resource around Scotland's coastline, and developing systems that harness this could play a valuable role in producing clean for future generations."


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More information: Modelling and testing of a wave energy converter based on dielectric elastomer generators, Proceedings of the Royal Society A, rspa.royalsocietypublishing.or … .1098/rspa.2018.0566
Citation: Wave device could deliver clean energy to thousands of homes (2019, February 12) retrieved 22 April 2019 from https://techxplore.com/news/2019-02-device-energy-thousands-homes.html
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Feb 12, 2019
Ohhh THAT kind of wave (oceanic). I was expecting something more on the line of a 'gravitational wave', sine wave, etc.

Feb 12, 2019
Drive in Sensor Studded Concrete Slabs in Sea Shores; Don't Waste Wave Energy. ¾ of the Planet is Oceans

Feb 13, 2019
Cheap wave energy has been promised for the past 50+ years. Now we have: "...Engineers say that their design could be used in fleets of low-cost, easily maintained structures at sea within decades..."

Feb 13, 2019
Since the article isn't very specific on how the energy is generated I googled around a bit. Seems they are using a dielectric elastomere generator
https://en.wikipe...astomers

They should definitely set up a test installation under realistic wind/weather/fouling conditions off the coast of Scotland. But if the membrane is durable then this might actually work.

Feb 13, 2019
If we put millions of these in the sea
we could do what king Canute failed to do
hold the sea back
These will calm the waves

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