An Australian company has created a new wave machine that promises improved performance and cost effectiveness for harvesting the power of the sea
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Swell Energy has simplified the most common form of sea power generation, reducing complexity, maintenance and costs. Like many wave power technologies, Swell Energy’s new system is based on the concept of an oscillating water column: a pipe is placed vertically in the sea and as the water rises and falls within it, a wind turbine at the top is driven. Typically the suction and exhalation of the tube is fed through the turbine. Swell Energy’s successfully patented innovation is simply to provide a second outlet, so that the wind is only ever sucked in, not pushed out. Less turns out to be more, as the turbine is cheaper and more efficient.
Swell Energy is recently established by an Australian team and led by the man who invented the technology, Tom Denniss. They plan to locate their first project off the shore of an island that lies between Tasmania and the Australian mainland (King Island) and have it operational by the middle of 2018. From there, to mass produce their machines and export them across the world.
The best ideas are often the simplest and, in a world hungry for renewable technologies, Swell Energy believes the market for their product could be as limitless as the ocean itself. We’ve seen simplified and more portable solar power and wind generation. Could a simpler form of wave energy prove to be the next big thing in carbon-free power generation?