A team of Spanish engineers from the Polytechnic University of Catalonia have developed a new system of harnessing the power of waves to generate electricity which costs less than any of the existing procedures using the power of waves.
The project which has been patented by the Catalan company Sea Electric Waves has been financed by the regional Catalan government and developed by a team of engineers from the Polytechnic University of Catalonia. The main advantage of this system compared to existing systems which use the power of waves to generate electricity is that it can be installed in the same jetty walls built to protect ports from bad weather.
It is also easier to instal, the electricity which is generated gets to the national grid more quickly and the infrastructure lasts longer. According to Xavier Tous, the head of the project, the advantages which are seen in the total cost of the installation which is less than other similar marine energy technologies. Costs such as the installation of the platform, maintenance and transport are considerably less because it is just a few metres from a power point.
Sea Electric Waves proposes installing a modular platforms located a small distance from thejetty wall which generates electric energy through a system called ‘oscillating water column’. When the level of waves pushes against the inside wall of the platform the air that is inside is compressed in the upper part of the mechanism. This compressed air is then conducted to a turbine where its rotating movement creates electricity. The system patented by Sea Electric Waves allows energy to be transported by the generator to land to be incorporated into the national grid.
The next step in the project is the installation of such a platform in the Catalan port of Sant Feliu de Guíxols over the next few weeks.
Making use of wave power is still a little known source of energy but holds great potential for many countries including Spain, the United Kingdom, Australia and the United states.