Offshore locations offer some of the most reliable and powerful sources of renewable energy, both wind and wave. Unfortunately, it's also more difficult to build the infrastructure to capture that energy. From sea-floor anchors to underwater electrical cables, it's all very complicated and expensive.
Ocean Energy Ltd. is considering these problems and wondering... why not build wave-power projects where the infrastructure is already in place? Their patent-pending device, the Wave Treader, does just that. It simply straps onto existing wind turbines and then it generates power as waves flow past. Each of these devices could create as much as 500 kW of power, increasing each wind turbine's power output by as much as 50%.
The power output can then be pushed straight into the wind farm's already-existing distribution infrastructure.
The first full-scale prototype of the Wave Treader is expected this year while commercial deployments are scheduled for 2011. One thing Ocean Energy might not be counting on, however, is that existing wind farms were built with specific levels of stress in mind. Having paddles sticking off the side of the turbine specifically designed for capturing the power of waves might wreak havoc on safety models, especially if these devices aren't able to get out of the way during severe weather.
Newly-built wind farms, of course, can take these devices into account, but we'll have to see what the engineers think about retrofitting existing turbines. Even if retrofitting isn't an option, that shouldn't hold this technology back too much, since around 1,000 offshore wind turbines are scheduled to be built between 2011 and 2015 in the UK alone.
written by L Weber, February 17, 2009
written by Alex, February 17, 2009
written by wind generator plans, June 09, 2009
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