Wave power is a form of renewable energy that can be harnessed from the motion of the waves. There are several methods of harnessing wave energy that involve placing electricity generators on the surface of the ocean.
When it comes to renewable energy, many of us have already heard of the most popular sources, such as solar or wind power. But did you know that renewable energy can be harnessed from other natural resources and occurrences, such as the heat of the Earth and even the movement of waves?
Depending on the lunar cycles, tides, winds, and weather, waves can vary in size and strength. As waves roll through the ocean, they create kinetic energy, or movement. This movement can be used to power turbines, which, in turn, create energy that can be converted into electricity and power. There are also several ways of harnessing wave energy that utilize the up and down motion of the waves to power pistons/turn generators.
The United Nations Environment Programme defines wave energy as “the energy available from the motion of ocean waves.” Wave power is a sustainable and environmentally friendly electricity source that can power homes, businesses, and even entire communities.
The potential of wave power plants
Wave power plants have the potential to generate large amounts of electricity. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that “if developed, wave energy can provide up to 10% of the nation’s electricity”. That’s a huge potential, and it’s not just the United States – countries worldwide are investing in wave power plants due to their great potential.
Offshore wave power plants
Offshore wave power plants typically use floating devices called buoys to generate electricity. Buoys are tethered to the seabed and as waves pass them, they move up and down. This motion generates electricity via a mechanical device connected to a generator. The generator converts the mechanical motion into electrical energy, which is transported ashore via underwater cables.
These types of wave power plants have several advantages over onshore plants. For example, they can be located in deep water, away from shipping lanes and coastal development. This means that they have less impact on the environment and marine life. Another advantage is that they can harness the energy of larger waves, generating more electricity.
Onshore wave power plants
Onshore wave power plants use structures called breakwaters or sea walls to generate electricity. Breakwaters are artificial barriers built perpendicular to shorelines that protect coastlines from erosion and storm surge damage during severe weather events like hurricanes or tsunamis. As waves hit the breakwater, they cause it to move up and down, which generates electricity via a mechanical device connected to a generator.
Waves have the highest energy density of renewable energy sources, compared to others like wind, solar, biomass and geothermal. This means waves have the greatest potential to be an important contributor to the world’s “energy mix resilience”
Wave energy has great potential as a renewable source of electricity for powering homes, businesses, and even communities all over the world.
At Universal Kraft we are focused on developing renewable energy solutions that may contribute to a decarbonized society. We offer multiple solutions on solar energy, green hydrogen, wind, energy storage and waste-to-energy technologies. Read more news on sustainability and clean energy here.