Bobbing Buoys Set to Make Wave Power
Two separate designs of wave-power buoys are being tested this month off the Oregon coastline. The maturing technology, however, still faces some opposition from local fishermen and coastal residents. Oregon has pushed for this form of renewable energy with a $10 million tech development fund since 2007, and the new tests could determine the fate of other investments across the country. The bobbing buoys use piston-like devices to generate kinetic energy and turn it into an electrical current.
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The WET-NZ buoy made by Wave Energy Technology-New Zealand, is designed to capture energy from the movement of ocean waves. Advocates say the benefit of waves is that unlike sun and wind, they keep moving 24 hours a day. It captures energy from up-and-down as well as side-to-side and rotational movements, sending the electricity it makes through an underwater cable into a floating battery pack.
Oregon State University is monitoring the WET-NZ buoy – which is already afloat – to see if it affects surrounding sea creatures, the Portland Oregonian reported.
Ocean Power Technologies' 400-foot-wide, 200-ton buoy goes to sea in October. It bobs up and down, creating a pumping motion that powers a generator that sends power to shore in underwater cables. Wave power still has a way to go to compete with existing sources of energy. Researchers estimate that when the field matures, wave-made electricity could cost 15 cents per kilowatt hour, about twice what utility customers pay today, according to the Oregonian.
Image: Wave Energy Technology – New Zealand
Via Tech News Daily