University launches new wave power device

A team based at the University of Plymouth has launched an experimental wave energy device which is unobtrusive and cost-effective.

The researchers, from a number of European small companies and universities, have been working together over the past two years in order to find a new way to harness the power of the waves. The resulting device, is based on the principle of multiple water columns which oscillate due to the movement of the sea waves, with the displaced air above the columns driving turbines to generate power.

Unlike many other devices, the new technology is a free-floating buoy, which means that it can both move with the waves in order to better withstand storm conditions, and has fewer limitations on where it can be situated.

The researchers foresee the technology being used firstly to power remote islands and offshore installations, where communities currently rely on expensive traditional means of generating power which consume valuable natural resources. In the longer term, the power generated from this technology could serve coastal towns, contribute to regional power requirements, and ultimately supplement the National Grid, with no pollutants or toxic residues, according to the research team.

It will now take the researchers a further six months to test and evaluate the technology, using special equipment which will be mounted in the device in order to relay data back to the shore, allowing continual monitoring of its performance.

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