This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

March 03, 2004

Company Completes Construction of Wave Energy Converter

March is here, spring is coming soon, and that means one thing for sure: new wave energy projects are on their way. As the winter storm season draws to a close on the European seas, wave energy entrepreneurs are growing anxious to launch new trials of their prototype devices. This year's first new entry is the Pelamis Wave Energy Converter, a project of Scotland's Ocean Power Delivery Limited (OPD). The full-scale prototype is a cylindrical structure about 130 yards long and about 11.5 feet in diameter. The device will be moored perpendicular to oncoming waves, and hinges along its length will allow the segments to move up and down as waves pass. As each hinge pivots up and down, it pumps high-pressure oil, which is used to drive a generator to produce power. The prototype includes three 250-kilowatt generators along its length, for a total generating capacity of 750 kilowatts. OPD expects to begin sea trials of the Pelamis this month. See the OPD news announcement and the company's description of the Pelamis.

The United Kingdom is serious about commercializing its wave energy resources: the South West of England Regional Development Agency (RDA) is providing about than $934,000 (500,000 Pounds) for a study on the viability of a "Wave Hub," an offshore power link for wave energy generators. The Wave Hub will consist of an underwater cable connected to the U.K. power grid and running about nine miles out to sea. See the RDA announcement.

Photo of the Wave Dragon.

A wave's-eye view of the Wave Dragon. Outer "wings" help direct waves over the barrier in the center.
Credit: Wave Dragon

Meanwhile, work has continued on a prototype Danish machine called the Wave Dragon, a moored device that channels waves into a reservoir, then produces power by running the seawater through turbines as it returns to the sea. The device is now fitted with six 2.5-kilowatt turbines (that's 15 kilowatts total) and is feeding power to the local power grid in Denmark. See the news announcement on the Wave Dragon Web site.

All this wave energy news should provide plenty to discuss at the Wave and Tidal Technology Symposium (WATTS) 2004, which starts March 16th in London, England. Information about WATTS 2004 is available on the Renewable Power Association Web site.