Wave Energy

Catching energy from the waves

Positive Look

Ocean waves are a huge source of potential energy. The waves come naturally by wind blowing over the surface of the ocean. Waves are renewable, so wave energy would be easy to use. Wave energy is a clean, pollution free source and waves are easy to predict a few days in advance. Since they are easy to predict, you can collect energy for the needs of supply and demand.

One terawatt-hours/year of wave energy supplies around 93,850 average sized homes in the United States every year. A research project done by UK Marine Foresight Panel says that one percent of available water energy could supply at least five times the global demand for energy.

Types of Wave Energy Technology

Waves are a definite need for this kind of energy source. There are different types of wave gathering technology including these three:

Floats, buoys, or pitching devices generate electricity by catching the rising and falling of waves. Once those waves are caught, they go into a hydraulic pump that harnesses the energy to use as electricity or a power source.

Oscillating water column devices generate electricity at the shore the same way the above does. The only things different is that a cylindrical shaft lets the water enter. When the water enters, air pushes out of the top. The air then goes into a turbine that uses the air to create energy.

A tapered channel can go on or off shore. These concentrate waves and push them into an elevated reservoir. Energy is created with hydro power turbines as the water is released.

The best wave generating technology, located in the United Kingdom, costs 7.5 cents per kWh. To compare, a large scale coal technology costs 2.6 cents kWh. Coal isn't a renewable resource and waves are.

Negative Aspects

Wave power varies in different parts of the world. It can't be fully used because there are other factors going on in the ocean like shipping, commercial fishing, and naval operations. Only around 1,170 TWh/yr is able to be used compared to the 4,000 that the United States uses in one year. Most waves have too much energy to be harnessed, so that is also a negative part of wave energy.