It’s estimated that the energy density in waves is more than 800 times higher than in wind, currently the most popular alternative energy resource. Rafael Waters, from the Uppsala University in Sweden, decided harness this energy. But, instead of adapting conventional energy technology, he built a durable, maintenance-free, simple mechanical construction that was adapted to the ocean from the start. It has now been operating at the bottom of the ocean off Sweden for three years. According to a staff writer from RecyclingPortal:
The generator in the wave power facility in Lysekil (Sweden) is very special. It is a so-called linear generator that generates electricity apace with the slow movements of the waves. An ordinary generator transforms rotation energy to electricity, and it needs to turn at about 1500 rpm to be efficient. It is then necessary somehow to convert the slow wave movement to a rapid rotating movement.
“This means that a wave energy station with an ordinary generator needs energy transmission systems such as gearboxes or hydraulic systems and other complicated details that wear out and require much more maintenance than a linear generator,” says Rafael Waters. “Our generator has functioned without any trouble every time we started it up over the years, even though it has received no maintenance and has sometimes stood still for months.”
Next year the wave power facility in Lysekil will be complemented by two more plants and connected to one of the world’s first wave energy parks, which will be capable of supplying household electricity to about 60 homes. In a few years’ time, the park will include some ten plants. In the long term, wave energy should be able to supply Sweden with about 10TWh of electricity per year, comparable to 12 nuclear power plants.
If the construction and maintenance costs are low enough, maybe we’ll be saying “so long” to nukes. For more, go to: http://www.swellgen.com/drupal62/?q=node/84