A group of design engineers from Scotland have found a way to efficiently
harness the raw power of ocean wavesand convert that power into usable energy.
The design is one of the top 15 finalists for this year’s James Dyson award.
This design is an improvement over other wave energy converters because it operates using hydraulics to maximise the amount of energy it harnesses from waves.
The device — called the renewable wave power (RWP) — is essentially a chain of partially submerged buoys that absorb the force of waves, then converts the waves into energy. The growing need for sustainable energy sources is the inspiration behind this design entry.
The design has undergone several tests in Lancaster University’s wave tank. The unique hydraulic system allows the RWP to respond to changing ocean conditions. As the waves flow in, they move the buoys, which creates pressure as they bounce up and down. The pressure is stored in hydraulic cylinders, which can then be depressurized to create electricity.
RWP is specifically designed to operate on the west coast of Scotland where, according to the designers, the rough Atlantic ocean has the potential to produce up to 70 Kilowatt-hours of energy per meter of coastline.
The energy readouts produced by RWP look promising, but it needs to be tested in the ocean to verify the results.
The James Dyson award is a competition between up-and-coming design engineers all around the world. The award includes an international winner, and a national winner from each country represented.
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