What do solar panels, wind turbines, and dams all have in common? They all produce electricity with natural forces. The most popular natural sources used for sustainable energy production are the sun, wind, and water. However, now a different force is being used: wave power. It sounds crazy, but scientists have been developing wave-powered generators that can product huge amounts of energy. It’s believed wave energy could produce up to 10% or our energy needs.
This idea for wave energy is not a new one; people began using very basic machines in the early 1900’s that used the waves to power their houses. The technology has continued to develop since then, but now we are actually going to use this technology as a way to produce large amounts of electricity thanks to the backing of the aerospace company, Lockheed Martin. Currently there are 23 working wave energy converters, but they are mostly small and inefficient designs. This won’t be the case with their new plan.
Wave energy converters produce electricity by using the up and down wave motion to turn a piston. The turning of this piston is then used to turn a generator, which produces electricity, which is then brought ashore by large, underwater wires.
The potential for this energy source is huge. Oceans never stop producing waves. Waves are a constant energy that has unlimited potential. With a source of electricity so bountiful, the ability to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels is very likely. Some other benefits to this energy source is that there is no potential for harming the environment they are in, they are limitless in terms of acceptable locations, and they are relatively small so they will not be terrible to look at. Additionally, these converters require very little maintenance and have very few moving parts.
Initially, investing in renewable energy sources like this is going to be very expensive. However it is going to save countries a ton of money in the future. All of this, combined with how much better this power source is for the environment, it seems like a very logical solution to our energy production problems.
McGrath, Jane. “How Wave Energy Works” 15 July 2008. HowStuffWorks.com. <http://science.howstuffworks.com/environmental/earth/oceanography/wave-energy.htm> 14 February 2014.
Peace Trees (2011, March 2). SEARASER Wave Energy Device – How it works [Video file]. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_9jGis5V5LE
Pelamis Wave Power Ltd. (n.d.). Pelamis Wave Power. Retrieved February 14, 2014, from http://www.pelamiswave.com/wave-power
Pentland, W. (2014, February 11). Lockheed Backs World’s Largest Wave Energy Project – Forbes. Retrieved February 14, 2014, from http://www.forbes.com/sites/williampentland/2014/02/11/lockheed-backs-worlds-largest-wave-energy-project/