The dynamic equation between sun, earth, wind and water result in the formation of waves, which are unbound sources of energy that come crashing onto the shore. The longer the wind pushes the wave, the stronger it is, in fact the wave will be strong enough to generate enough energy to solve at least 10% of the Earth’s energy crisis.
Some estimates state that altogether, ocean waves could hold up to 10 trillion watts of energy which can power renewable, non-polluting electricity. Though a lot of research is being done in this area and many technologies have been designed and developed to harness wave energy, but the level of efficiency in terms of costs and practical application is not completely verified.
Technology for Wave Harnessing
Extensive research is being done in this field and several prototypes have been designed and tested to apply the theories of physics to practical use. One such prototype has been designed by aeronautical engineers from the US Air Force Academy at Texas A&M University. They have placed a central axis within a large tank, the size of a football team to generate power. Pair of wings is attached to the axis which is rotated by the incoming waves. The movement activates the generator which converts mechanical energy into electricity. In practical use, it is estimated that if the prototype succeeds then it can power between 3000 to 4000 homes.
Other technologies would include the Oyster which will be placed on the seabed. Its flap will open and close to drive hydraulic pistons that will squirt high power water onshore where a conventional hydroelectric turbine will be powered.
Finnish scientists are also testing wave power converter in the Atlantic Ocean which they will sway like penguins with the wave movement to generate power.
What Researchers Have to Say
Globally, wave energy has piqued the fancy of researchers and extensive developmental work is being done towards fortifying technology for harnessing power from wave energy. The National Science Agency in Australia says that all ocean renewable energy sources combined can produce enough energy to power a city the size of Melbourne by 2050. US military is also developing technology to harness wave energy from its seas so that it can cut down on foreign reliability for fuel to generate power.
There are numerous designs, including wave energy, in their advanced stage, which could resolve a lot of energy crisis. Scientists are working towards creating a consistent renewable energy source through these technologies.