One of the first rules of the game when it comes to energy is that every time you transfer energy from one form into another, a little bit spills out on the way. It is for this reason that I am generally skeptical when I read about a solar-to-electric-to-biofuel-to-battery-to-whatever technology. That being the case, let’s examine the Searaser:
Designed by British inventor (is that a real profession in Britain? I’ve always wanted to be an inventor...) Alvin Smith, the Searaser is a buoy connected to a piston. The buoy is fixed into place; as a result, it bobs up and down with the waves. As it does, it turns the piston and pumps sea water through an undersea hose. The hose carries the water to a high place (either on land or at sea), where it can fall back down to earth, spinning a turbine in the process.
On the one hand, the device itself seems simple enough and is reportedly on the cheap side. It would not use up any fresh water resources, since all the water travelling through the system would come from the ocean. But if the wave can turn the pistons, why not simply turn a generator underwater? Why go through the trouble of building long hoses and constructing artificial waterfalls?
It is possible that keeping the underwater parts simpler makes for a more robust system; if all the important parts are underwater then when they sink, you are sunk as well. This way, even if one of the buoys breaks down, the important part is still on land. And maybe hoses are cheaper than underwater electric transmission wires. I hope my instincts are wrong; Smith calculates that a sizable fleet of his inventions could power millions of homes.
written by Rob Chant, November 18, 2008
written by avfuktare fÃƒÂ¶r krypgrund och vind, November 18, 2008
written by Mark Bartosik, November 18, 2008
written by nnn, February 21, 2009
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