Orecon, a British wave energy company, has just pulled in a huge round of funding in preparation for their first installations in 2010. The company has developed a large buoy, 40 meters in diameter, that will float a few miles offshore. The buoy will be tethered to the sea floor in six places, and the rising and falling of the waves will power on-board generators.
The first installation is expected to produce about 1.5 megawatts, or about as much as a medium-sized wind turbine.
Wave power has been plagued by regulatory problems and battles with the fishing industry. But the biggest problem has been the weather. The buoys have to be placed in areas that have continuous high seas, but they also have to be able to handle storms in those same areas.
Start-up Finavera showed that the technology had a bit of work ahead of it for sea-worthiness when its 40 ton AquaBuOY sank off the coast of Oregon.
Nonetheless, the high seas contain a tremendous amount of energy that, if inexpensively harvested, could produce a substantial amount of power to the most populated regions on Earth.
written by Brooks, October 24, 2008
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