‘Artificial blowhole’ harvests power from ocean waves

May 12, 2017 by  
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Wave energy comes in many forms: at Inhabitat we’ve written about buoys , floating sea walls , and floating platforms . But Australia -based Wave Swell Energy (WSE) takes a novel approach to harvesting power from ocean waves using what CEO Tom Denniss calls an artificial blowhole. WSE’s artificial blowhole is a concrete column resting in the sea; waves rushing in and out of a central chamber cause air to have a positive or negative pressure. The pressure changes allow the air to pass by a turbine , generating clean power . All the moving parts are above the water line for ease of maintenance. Related: The UK’s first wave energy plant will produce enough energy for 6,000 homes The company says they’ve based their technology on the idea of an oscillating water column. But the difference between their technology and that of other organizations is their turbine is only hit by air flowing from one direction. This means the turbine design is simpler, more reliable, and more durable. The design also yields a higher energy conversion efficiency, according to the company. Their blowhole can produce up to one megawatt (MW) of power; as wave conditions and weather change, the average output is around 470 kilowatts. Its capacity factor – or ratio of average to peak power – is around 47 percent, much greater than the 30 percent achieved by other wave power systems. That means WSE could offer their electricity for around seven cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh), which is roughly competitive with coal. The WSE technology has the added side benefit of producing desalinated water . By the middle of 2018, they plan to test their technology near King Island, a land mass home to under 2,000 people between Australia and Tasmania. Denniss also has his sights set on Hawaii. The company aims to scale up rapidly – within the next five years they hope to deploy systems able to produce 100 MW or greater. They also think they can lower the price in the future to four cents per kWh. + Wave Swell Energy Via New Atlas Images via screenshot and Wave Swell Energy

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‘Artificial blowhole’ harvests power from ocean waves

Carnegie Wave Energy is bringing their clean energy and desalination technology to the UK

November 8, 2016 by  
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Australia-based company Carnegie Wave Energy (CWE) will bring their wave power and desalination technology to Wave Hub in Cornwall, England . The European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) granted 9.6 million pounds, around $11.8 million, to CWE for the first phase of their Wave Hub project. Ultimately CWE aims to install enough of their wave power converter devices to generate 15 megawatts (MW) of clean energy at Wave Hub. Wave Hub is a wave power test site connected to the grid, and in 2014 CWE received a berth at the test site to install their wave energy technology. The money from ERDF will enable CWE to start the first phase of their Wave Hub project and generate one MW of energy with a CETO 6 wave power converter device. CWE aims to commission the converter in 2018, and then the device will operate for one year. They hope to begin the project’s second phase in 2020 or 2021, ultimately implementing a 15 MW commercial array. Related: Perth’s Carnegie Wave Energy project produces power AND fresh water from the motion of the ocean According to CWE, their technology is a superb match for Wave Hub. In a statement they said, “Cornwall’s Wave Hub is the world’s largest and most technologically advanced site for the testing and development of offshore renewable energy technology. CWE is the only company in the world to have operated a grid-connected wave energy project over four seasons.” CWE’s CETO system differs from other wave energy systems because it works underneath ocean waves, and can’t be seen from the shore. The devices don’t impact beachgoers since they’re submerged completely in deep water. Underwater operation also helps keep the devices safe during storms. Further, CWE says their CETO devices are environmentally friendly, even attracting marine creatures. Not only do CETO devices convert wave power into “zero-emission electricity,” according to CWE, they also desalinize water. CWE has worked on their CETO technology for more than a decade. + Carnegie Wave Energy + Wave Hub Images via Carnegie Wave Energy

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Carnegie Wave Energy is bringing their clean energy and desalination technology to the UK

Floating wave-powered desalination buoy cuts price of clean water production in half

October 26, 2016 by  
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“Typical desalination processes can be taxing on the environment, especially coastal communities,” the team wrote on their Indiegogo page . They add, “Unlike traditional methods that require a huge amount of power, typically generated by burning fuel oil, SAROS uses clean, renewable wave energy and produces zero emissions and minimal salt brine concentration.” According to them, by eliminating the need to produce energy with their wave-powered device, they can offer clean drinking water at half the price of existing plants. Related: Solar-powered pipe desalinizes 1.5 billion gallons of clean drinking water for California “We’re completely removing the dependency on electricity and fossil fuels, and creating one of the first environmentally conscious desalination systems that will allow us to bring affordable fresh water to coastal areas across the globe,” they said. It’s a noble idea with several other potential applications, including filtering plastic from oceans and seas. If you’re interested to learn more, take a look at the long list of backers who have supported Chris and Justin in their three-year journey to perfect the original design. They’ve received multiple awards, including the coveted Thomas Edison Award in 2014, and recently opened a second branch in Wilmington, North Carolina to continue their research and development. + SAROS

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Floating wave-powered desalination buoy cuts price of clean water production in half

Land Art Generator Initiative Santa Monica winners address California’s energy needs and drought

October 5, 2016 by  
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John Eric Chung, Pablo La Roche, Danxi Zou, Jingyan Zhang, and Tianyi Deng (CallisonRTKL), a submission to the 2016 Land Art Generator Initiative design competition for Santa Monica Teams from all around the world competed in the competition, and the first place winners are based in Tokyo, Japan. Christopher Sjoberg and Ryo Saito designed the Regatta H2O, ethereal sailboat-like installations that capture energy through “aerostatic flutter wind harvesting” and capture water through fog harvesting. Operating via the energy it collects, the regatta would generate 112 million liters, or nearly 30 million gallons, of drinking water yearly. Related: Solar-powered Pipe desalinizes 1.5 billion gallons of drinking water for California Keegan Oneal, Sean Link, Caitlin Vanhauer, and Colin Poranski, a submission to the 2016 Land Art Generator Initiative design competition for Santa Monica The second place winner is Cetacea, created by a team from Eugene, Oregon. Keegan Oneal, Sean Link, Caitlin Vanhauer, and Colin Poranski from the University of Oregon designed the installation inspired by blue whales’ ability to power themselves by tiny krill. Cetacea draws on three types of energy – wind, solar, and wave – and collects 650 million liters of drinking water yearly via “high efficiency reverse osmosis” ( HERO by Aquatech ). 80 percent of the 4,300 megawatt hours of energy generated by Cetacea would be used to “offset the energy demand” of the HERO system and Santa Monica’s SMURRF facility . Christopher Makrinos, Stephen Makrinos, and Alexander Bishop, a submission to the 2016 Land Art Generator Initiative design competition for Santa Monica Third place goes to Christopher Makrinos, Stephen Makrinos, and Alexander Bishop of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. They designed Paper Boats, boat-shaped installations whose sails function as “concentrated photovoltaic collectors.” Paper Boats would utilize Holographic Planar Concentrator technology from Prism Solar Technologies to generate 2,400 megawatt hours of power each year. Matt Kuser, a submission to the 2016 Land Art Generator Initiative design competition for Santa Monica LAGI founding directors Elizabeth Monoian and Robert Ferry said in a statement, “The winners of LAGI 2016 all responded to the design brief with elegant site-specific gestures for the cherished coastal landscape of the Santa Monica Bay. These innovative and artistic solutions that employ the latest wave, tidal, wind, solar, and water-harvesting technologies have resonance for coastal cities around the world.” Aitor Almaraz and Sonia Vázquez-Díaz, a submission to the 2016 Land Art Generator Initiative design competition for Santa Monica There are 21 other finalists, from a desalinizing pipe to a solar-powered rotating farm and desalination plant to a freshwater-creating orb comprised of transparent solar concentrators . + Land Art Generator Initiative Images courtesy of the Land Art Generator Initiative

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Despite Hawaii success, American wave energy lags behind rest of the world

September 20, 2016 by  
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Thanks to a Navy test site, America’s first wave-produced electricity was fed into Hawaii’s power grid  last summer. The US Department of Energy confirmed in July 2015 that the Azura prototype generator developed by Oregon-based Northwest Energy Innovations (NWEI) was the first to add wave energy to a US power grid, and although the test site has remained active, it could still be a decade or more before a large-scale wave energy project begins producing a substantial amount of electricity for the American people. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LAqNOTSoNHs Wave energy , also known as tidal energy, is a growing sector in renewable energy that holds a lot of promise. Solar and wind power have been established as viable alternatives to fossil fuels, both in cost and electricity production, but the output of wave energy could eventually help it become a leading source of clean energy. Wave energy makes a lot of sense in a place like Hawaii, which is surrounded by some of the best surf on Earth. WETS, which came online July 2015, also aims to contribute to the state’s goal to get 100 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2045. Related: 45-ton Azura generator harvests energy from Hawaii’s waves “More power from more places translates to a more agile, more flexible, more capable force,” Joseph Bryan, deputy assistant secretary of the Navy, said during an event at the site. “So we’re always looking for new ways to power the mission.” More than a year after it first went online, WETS is still only a small scale pilot program. Elsewhere, the world’s first large-scale tidal energy project kicks off in Scotland using vastly different technology, and won’t be fully operational before 2020. An Australian wave energy project recently set a world record for days in operation. Meanwhile, Sweden-based CorPower Ocean pushes the envelope, promising five times the electricity production of existing wave energy technology. Other projects are planned for various sites around the globe, demonstrating the increasing popularity of this oft-overlooked clean energy source. Although the early results from the Hawaiian test site are exciting, wave energy experts say it could be up to 10 years before a large-scale wave energy project could go online. In part, they blame the very seawater that makes the clean energy possible. “The ocean is a really hard place to work,” said Patrick Cross, specialist at the Hawaii Natural Energy Institute at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, which helps run the Hawaii test site. “You’ve got to design something that can stay in the water for a long time but be able to survive.” Via Phys.org Images via Northwest Energy Innovations

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Despite Hawaii success, American wave energy lags behind rest of the world

New wave energy generator taps into hard-to-reach low frequencies of the ocean

June 23, 2016 by  
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Wave power —energy harvested from ocean currents—is likely to be the next big thing in renewable energy generation, so researchers are spending quite a bit of time on new technologies to take advantage of the sustainable energy source. A new device has emerged that taps into hard-to-reach low frequencies of the ocean wave energy spectrum, utilizing energy that most harvesters cannot access. This makes it possible to draw even more power from calm, slow-moving seas, amplifying the potential of wave energy. Zhong Lin Wang of Georgia Institute of Technology created the new device to capture “blue energy,” another name for wave power. It’s a hybrid system that combines the efforts of two generators: an electromagnetic generator (EMG) and a triboelectric nanogenerator (TENG). EMG systems are the most common in existing wave energy harvesters, because they target high frequencies of fast-moving ocean currents. The more recently developed TENG technology is the one that taps into the lower frequencies, making Wang’s wave energy generator more efficient than existing models. By combining the two approaches, the generator captures a broader spectrum of ocean energy. Related: New Swedish wave energy buoy boasts 5x the output of existing technology “The TENG has the unique advantage of high output voltage, and its output power is linearly scaled with frequency, making it ideal for harvesting low-frequency energy,” Wang told Phys.org. “On the other hand, the EMG’s output power is proportional to the square of the frequency, so the EMG is ideally suited for harvesting high-frequency energy. At low frequency, (< 5 Hz), the effective output of the TENG is much higher than that of the EMG.” The research results were recently published in the journal ACS Nano . Via Phys.org Images via Saltvand/Flickr and Zhong Lin Wang

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New Swedish wave energy buoy boasts 5x the output of existing technology

April 7, 2016 by  
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We already harness energy from the sun, the wind, and many other natural processes for our own uses, and electricity generated from ocean waves could be the next big thing in renewables. Known as wave energy , the concept is relatively new and technologies are still a bit rudimentary (and expensive), especially when it comes to large-scale energy generation. CorPower Ocean , based in Sweden, has developed a buoy that is surprisingly productive. One small buoy can generate enough electricity from the ocean to power 200 homes . Imagine what a farm full of floating buoys could do. Read the rest of New Swedish wave energy buoy boasts 5x the output of existing technology

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New Swedish wave energy buoy boasts 5x the output of existing technology

Waterstudio’s floating sea wall harvests blue energy from crashing water

December 9, 2015 by  
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Hundreds of world leaders are gathered in Paris to hash out a deal to save the planet from future climate change , but in the meantime, Koen Olthuis and the rest of the Waterstudio crew are working on solutions that we can use today. The Blue energy floating sea wall is a floating breakwater that doubles as an energy generator. Called The Parthenon, the floating breakwater not only stems the crash of water pushing into a harbor, but harvests the tremendous energy a wall of water like that can generate. Read the rest of Waterstudio’s floating sea wall harvests blue energy from crashing water

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Greenpeace exposes academics willing to take oil company money to cast doubts on climate science

December 9, 2015 by  
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Greenpeace revealed today that undercover work isn’t just for detectives. In an effort to illustrate how easily fossil fuel interests can buy off academics to create doubt about the effects of climate change, Greenpeace reporters asked professors from Princeton and Penn State to pen reports touting the benefits of carbon dioxide and bolstering support for coal burning in developing nations. As it turns out, it’s not difficult to get academic ‘research’ published that says whatever you’d like it to say, provided you have the dollars to back up the request. Read the rest of Greenpeace exposes academics willing to take oil company money to cast doubts on climate science

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Greenpeace exposes academics willing to take oil company money to cast doubts on climate science

Groundbreaking waterless toilet could help millions who lack access to plumbing

December 9, 2015 by  
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Currently there are still 2.3 billion people in the world without access to basic toilets. But hopefully this statistic will drop drastically after the Nano Membrane Toilet is brought to the areas which need it most. These areas do not have the infrastructure to support toilets that require running water, but this model of toilet is able to treat human waste on-site without water. And the system only costs households 5 US cents per day. Read the rest of Groundbreaking waterless toilet could help millions who lack access to plumbing

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