Scotland’s Albatern is putting a new, modular spin on renewable energy generation. WaveNET is a scalable array of floating “Squid” generator units that harvest wave energy as their buoyant arms rise and fall with the motion of the waves.
Each Squid can link up to as many as three others, effectively creating a large, floating grid that’s flexible in every direction. The bigger this grid gets, the more efficient it becomes at harvesting energy, and the more different wave movements it can extract energy from. Albatern’s 10-year target is to have 1.25 kilometer-long floating energy farms pumping out as much as 100 megawatts by 2024.
How it works
Each Squid unit in the WaveNET array consists of a central ballast pole, surrounded by three buoyant floats that connect to the central post with linking arms. The linking arms connect to the central post with a fully articulating pump unit at each end, thus any movement of the arms as the floats move in the water causes those pumps to create hydraulic energy.
The Squid units can be connected to one another at the floatation points, and Albatern has discovered that building a large array gives you “dramatic non-linear yield improvements.”
Imagine a blanket of points floating on the surface of the sea – as a wave travels through the blanket, those points are pushed together, pulled apart and moved individually along X, Y and Z axes relative to one another – and every time those points move, they’re generating energy.
Using a common hydrostatic transmission system, the hydraulic energy pumped through all these units is gathered at a central point and converted into electrical energy through a “power take-off” module, and here the electricity can be transmitted to shore.
Because the WaveNET system is set up as an array, it’s able to extract energy from five of the six degrees of wave movement – pitch, roll, heave, surge and sway.
The Latest on: Wave energy generator
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The Latest on: Wave energy generator
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