by: Janet Aslin, Bridges for Peace
Finding solutions to the world’s dependence on fossil fuels has been the focus of environmental activists for many years and generating electricity from the ocean’s waves is not a new idea. However, Eco-Wave Power, an Israeli start-up company, has developed a unique wave energy converter that is low-cost, low-maintenance and “capable of producing large amounts of affordable, zero-emission renewable power” according to the company’s website. Within Israel the company has been recognized as a “pioneering technology” venture.
So, how does it work? The Eco Wave Power (EWP) wave energy converters are uniquely shaped floaters which are attached by strong “arms” to a structure such as a breakwater, pier or platform of some type. The floaters “rise and fall with the up and down motion, lifting force, change of water level, hydraulic air lock and incident flux of the waves. The motion of the floaters is transmitted to a shore-located power station which converts the energy from this motion into fluid pressure, which is used to spin a generator, producing electricity.
“The floaters are fully equipped with sensors which continuously monitor the performance of the various subsystems and surrounding ocean environment” (website). The system’s sensors can detect upcoming storms by changes in the type of waves and independently opt to raise the floaters out of the water or submerse them below the turbulence of the storm, protecting itself from mechanical damage.
Eco Wave Power’s technology has been in place in Israel for several years and the company has received orders from Gibraltar, the United Kingdom, Mexico, Chile and China. The potential of this source of clean, renewable energy is vast. The World Energy Council has estimated that the “the energy that can be harvested from the world’s oceans is equal to twice the amount of electricity that the world produces now.”
This Israeli-developed technology is poised to play a significant role in reducing the world’s dependence on fossil fuels in the area of producing electricity. Harnessing the power of the ocean is the wave of the future.
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