22 February 2012

Wave energy technology inspired by kelp plants

BioWAVE is a technology inspired by the swaying motion of kelp plants in the ocean. Kelp are large seaweeds that grow vertically from the ocean floor, and constantly sway in the water. The BioWAVE system is designed to mimic these plants.

Photo source: http://geog.ucsb.edu/mobile/events/department-news/

The BioWAVE is mounted on the seafloor, with a pivot near the bottom. The array of buoyant floats, or "blades", interacts with the rising and falling sea surface (potential energy) and the sub-surface back-and-forth water movement (kinetic energy). As a result, the pivoting structure sways back-and-forth in tune with the waves, and the energy contained in this motion is converted to electricity by an onboard self-contained power conversion module. The conversion module contains a hydraulic system that converts the mechanical energy from this motion into fluid pressure, which is used to spin a generator. Power is then delivered to shore by a subsea cable. You can read more about BioWAVE here.

// Satu

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