New work on leading wave power

Dec 09, 2008

A technology that is adapted to the special conditions for wave energy places the wave energy technology from Uppsala on the absolute cutting edge in the world. In his dissertation, Rafael Waters presents the findings from the experimental facility located in the sea outside Lysekil, Sweden, in which he has played a leading role in designing and constructing. He is publicly defending his dissertation at Uppsala University on December 12.

For nearly three years, a wave power plant has stood on the bottom of the ocean a couple of kilometers off the west coast of Sweden, near Lysekil. Rafael Waters, from the Uppsala University Division of Electricity, designed and built the facility as part of his doctoral project. The station is uniquely durable and maintenance-free thanks to its simple mechanical construction, which was engineered at the Division.

"Instead of trying to adapt conventional energy technology to the special challenges of wave energy, we developed a technology that is adapted to the ocean from the start," says Rafael Waters.

The generator in the wave power facility in Lysekil 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."

Rafael Waters and his colleagues are busy determining parameters such as power output and buoy size in order to attain the best results in the long term.

"With smaller buoys and lower power output, there is less stress on the wave power station. On the other hand, the goal is to produce as much power as possible. This is ultimately an economic consideration, and we want to understand how to optimize the construction."

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.

"But other countries have much more potential,"
says Rafael Waters. "Norway's waves, for instance, contain ten times as much energy as ours, and Norway's total potential is more than ten times higher than Sweden's."

Source: Uppsala University

Explore further: Going nuts? Turkey looks to pistachios to heat new eco-city

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Magnitude-7.2 earthquake shakes Mexican capital

7 hours ago

A powerful magnitude-7.2 earthquake shook central and southern Mexico on Friday, sending panicked people into the streets. Some walls cracked and fell, but there were no reports of major damage or casualties.

Dissolving the future of coral reefs

Apr 10, 2014

Swimming through the liquid turquoise waters off the island of Viti Levu, Fiji, I am surrounded by iridescent fish of all colors, schooling around healthy branching corals. With a slight movement of my fins ...

Recommended for you

Obama launches measures to support solar energy in US

Apr 17, 2014

The White House Thursday announced a series of measures aimed at increasing solar energy production in the United States, particularly by encouraging the installation of solar panels in public spaces.

Tailored approach key to cookstove uptake

Apr 17, 2014

Worldwide, programs aiming to give safe, efficient cooking stoves to people in developing countries haven't had complete success—and local research has looked into why.

User comments : 0

More news stories

Ex-Apple chief plans mobile phone for India

Former Apple chief executive John Sculley, whose marketing skills helped bring the personal computer to desktops worldwide, says he plans to launch a mobile phone in India to exploit its still largely untapped ...

Airbnb rental site raises $450 mn

Online lodging listings website Airbnb inked a $450 million funding deal with investors led by TPG, a source close to the matter said Friday.

Health care site flagged in Heartbleed review

People with accounts on the enrollment website for President Barack Obama's signature health care law are being told to change their passwords following an administration-wide review of the government's vulnerability to the ...

A homemade solar lamp for developing countries

(Phys.org) —The solar lamp developed by the start-up LEDsafari is a more effective, safer, and less expensive form of illumination than the traditional oil lamp currently used by more than one billion people ...

NASA's space station Robonaut finally getting legs

Robonaut, the first out-of-this-world humanoid, is finally getting its space legs. For three years, Robonaut has had to manage from the waist up. This new pair of legs means the experimental robot—now stuck ...

Filipino tests negative for Middle East virus

A Filipino nurse who tested positive for the Middle East virus has been found free of infection in a subsequent examination after he returned home, Philippine health officials said Saturday.

Egypt archaeologists find ancient writer's tomb

Egypt's minister of antiquities says a team of Spanish archaeologists has discovered two tombs in the southern part of the country, one of them belonging to a writer and containing a trove of artifacts including reed pens ...