Alam estimated that one square meter of a seafloor carpet system could generate enough electricity to power two U.S. households
What do champion surfers who gathered at last week’s Mavericks Invitational have in common with a UC Berkeley engineer? They all are looking to harness the power of big ocean waves.
But the similarities end there. For assistant professor Reza Alam, an expert in wave mechanics, the seafloor “carpet” he is proposing will convert ocean waves into usable energy.
“There is a vast amount of untapped energy in the oceans, and with increasing worldwide demand for power, the need to find cleaner alternatives to fossil fuels is critical,” said Alam. “We are also seeing greater population growth along coastal cities, so the ocean-based system we are developing would produce electricity in a carbon-neutral way right where it is needed.”
Potential boost to water supply
Marcus Lehmann, a Ph.D. researcher on Alam’s team, added that one potential application for their system could be to lower the high cost of purifying seawater into drinkable water, helping states – and countries – weather periods of drought.
The dominant methods of turning seawater into fresh water involve distillation, which requires heat, and reverse osmosis desalination, in which water is pumped through filters. Both methods use a substantial amount of energy that thus far has prevented their wider adoption. A power-generating system that is based on ocean power could change that, at least in areas of the world adjacent to high wave energy activity, the UC Berkeley researchers said.
The idea of tapping into ocean waves for power is not new. Alam’s lab cites an analysis from the London-based nonprofit Carbon Trust that wave energy could potentially provide more than 2,000 terawatt hours of electricity per year, or about 10 percent of global electricity needs.
Alam and his research team are proposing a wave-to-energy conversion system that sits on the seafloor.
“The benefit of having a system underwater is that there is minimal visual and physical impact on boats and sea life,” said Alam. “Our system would work with no problem in stormy conditions because the water column above the carpet buffers the impact momentum of surging waves. In fact, our carpet is even more efficient when ocean waves are stronger.”
Mimicking muddy seafloors
Alam got the idea of creating a seafloor carpet from real-world muddy seabeds, which are known to dampen the energy of surface waves. While surfers would not find this appealing, boaters and fishermen regularly use such safe harbors to escape from destructive wave surges during strong storms. Alam noted that his seafloor carpet system would not be considered for use in popular surf zones.
To simulate the effects of a muddy seabed, the engineers used a thin sheet of rubber that sits on top of a grid of hydraulic actuators, cylinders and tubes. As the rubber carpet moves up and down with the waves, it pumps the cylinders, creating hydraulic pressure that is piped onshore to be converted into power.
The researchers noted that while rubber was used in the lab experiments, they would look to longer-lasting elastic composite materials when deploying a system in the ocean.
Promising proof of concept
Early experiments with wave tanks at UC Berkeley have been promising. In results presented most recently at the 10th European Wave and Tidal Energy Conference in Denmark, the researchers showed that the wave carpet was able to absorb more than 90 percent of incoming wave energy.
Alam estimated that one square meter of a seafloor carpet system could generate enough electricity to power two U.S. households. He added that wave energy from just 10 meters of California coastline, or about 100 square meters of a seafloor carpet, could generate the same amount of power as an array of solar panels the size of a soccer field, which covers about 6,400 square meters.
The Latest on: Wave energy
via Google News
The Latest on: Wave energy
- This Russian Missile Submarine Split In Two and Sits 18,000 Feet Below the Waveson September 22, 2019 at 6:02 am
Gorbachev suggests a statement to the Americans, the International Atomic Energy Agency, the Soviet TASS news service, and other Communist nations. "In our information we should reiterate that ...
- Dodgers hitters can’t generate much energy — or runs — against Rockies in losson September 21, 2019 at 11:09 pm
The energy that has helped fuel the team’s best home record since it moved to Los Angeles in 1958 coursed through Chavez Ravine, the Dodgers riding the wave of emotion into the bottom of the eighth ...
- Energy minister waves big stick at Liddellon September 21, 2019 at 7:39 pm
Energy Minister Angus Taylor is keeping close tabs on an ageing coal-fired power station in NSW, warning that its closure must not affect electricity supply or cause price spikes. Mr Taylor has ...
- Denver Youth Activists Rally at Capitol, Join Wave of Global Climate Strikeson September 20, 2019 at 5:24 am
“The energy of the young activists and our allies here today is ... gas emissions nearly in half by 2030 to keep warming below catastrophic levels. The wave of student climate strikes, also known as ...
- Effect of porosity enhancing agents on the electrochemical performance of high-energy ultracapacitor electrodes derived from peanut shell wasteon September 20, 2019 at 3:41 am
... energy production systems and has a potential to offset the intermittent problem related to some renewable energy sources (solar, wind, wave, etc.) 2. Actually, batteries and supercapacitors are ...
- Georgia Power reminds customers of energy assistance programs during late summer heat waveon September 19, 2019 at 9:09 pm
Temperatures expected to reach the 90's again next week, company offers programs to help customers in need pay or reduce their monthly energy bill ATLANTA, Sept. 19, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- While ...
- Climate-change protesters poised to kick off global wave of street marcheson September 19, 2019 at 11:06 am
They also want stronger efforts to spur transitions to renewable energy with opportunities for workers who may lose their jobs in fossil fuel businesses, Villaseñor said. "We are expecting world ...
- Blackstone could weigh offer for Cheniere Energy Partners stake, exec sayson September 19, 2019 at 9:20 am
the limited partnership formed by Cheniere Energy, to help fund Sabine Pass. Foley also told Gastech that only one or two of the next wave of U.S. liquefied natural gas export projects may reach a ...
- Wave and Tidal Energy Market 2019 Opportunity Analysis and Industry Forecast by 2024 - MRE Reporton September 18, 2019 at 11:33 pm
Sep 19, 2019 (Heraldkeepers) -- New York, September 19, 2019: Ocean power technology is mainly categorized into three types wave energy, tidal energy and ocean thermal energy. Wave energy and tidal ...
- UPDATE 1-Next wave of U.S. LNG export projects to be ‘tougher’ -Blackstone Energy CEOon September 18, 2019 at 12:10 pm
HOUSTON, Sept 18 (Reuters) - The next wave of U.S. liquefied natural gas (LNG) export projects will be “tougher” to bring online, as companies with existing facilities take advantage of lower costs to ...
via Bing News