Monday, June 7, 2010

Oyster 2 Wave Generator

Here we have a serious and somewhat serious attempt to master wave power as a power source.  If it can be shown to stand up to seas, and that is not a gimme, then perhaps we are on the road to a viable system that is not too far from technical maturity.

This obviously can also act as a wave damper along coasts as a quelling device to control erosion of beaches.  A reef works even better, but there is no power potential with that.

It remains to be seen if this can be put in place and pay off.  There I am skeptical but remain willing to be convinced.

I am way too cognizant of the sheer grinding power of a major storm to be terribly optimistic.  These have to be set well in front of the worst possible wave action for any commercial operation.  Or perhaps a lockdown system can save them then.

New Oyster 2 Wave Power Generator Unveiled This Morning

by Brit Liggett, 05/19/10

This just in: Aquamarine Power just unveiled its freshest wave generator design this morning! Dubbed the Oyster 2 (you may remember our coverage of the original Oyster), the new renewable energy generator is about 26 meters long and packs a mean punch – Aquamarine Power says that even a small Oyster farm could power 12,000 homes onshore! Check out the video of the plant after the jump.

Basically it works like this. The Oyster 2 is anchored to the seafloor about half a mile off shore. Near-shore waves pound against its frame and engage the hinge mechanism. The hinges engage two hydraulic pistons that are connected to hydroelectric plants onshore. Essentially the Oyster turns offshore wave power into onshore water power. The first prototype Oyster 1 was installed and tested in the summer of 2009 and Aquamarine Power used information from that test to vastly improve their design. The Oyster 2 is simpler in design, has fewer moving parts, generates 250% more electricity and is easier to maintain.

A lot of issues developing in the offshore wave power industry have to do with the cost of installation versus the amount of energy extracted. It seems that the Oyster design solves this problem by replacing conventional turbines with hydraulic pistons to create the energy onshore instead of out in the waves. Three Oyster 2s will be deployed and connected to the grid in the summer of 2011 at the European Marine Energy Centre in Scotland. These Oyster 2 farms sound like a productive — and adorable — addition to the renewable energy market.


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