The question of electricity generation from renewable soursces has seen man turning to wave power, and a simple device recently developed may prove to play a big part.
Imagine a big, aquatic bicycle pump type action device working to turn wave power into clean electricity, and you get some idea of the innovative new eco-energy source recently snapped up by green energy company Ecotricity.
Aptly dubbed the Searaser, these amazing machines, which pump saltwater to onshore generators, have been tested at the prototype stage, their performance much praised by ministers of the government.
These incredibly simple devices use the rising and falling of large floats to pressurise water, but differs from other wave power technology in that electricity is not internally generated. Hostile ocean environments, in which machinery is routinely battered and corroded, mean most such technologies are not cheap but produce or maintain.
Searaser, however, is not only cheap to produce, with few moving parts, and since salt water and electricity-generating equipment never meet, has a far greater potential for cheap energy production, especially in the UK, which has vast potential in terms of available wave and tidal power.
Large numbers of such devices could significantly contribute to replacing use of coal and gas power plants, much reducing the carbon dioxide and helping control global warming. Survival of machinery in hostile marine environments has been problematic, only the Marine Current Turbines in Strangford Lough thus far producing electricity for the National Grid.
Ecotricity founder, Dale Vince believes Searaser to have the potential to produce lower cost electricity than any other renewable energy type, and confidently expects 200 18 m-deep Searaser devices to be operating around UK shores by 2016, powering 236,000 homes from wave energy.
The device is, happily, stunningly simple, working exactly like a bicycle pump. having need neither of lubricating nor hydraulic oil, and the structure id flexible, able to cope easily with the heaviest of seas. UK government plans, welcomed by all, to more than double marine energy subsidies, will help speed the process.
It is said that the UK is the world leader in developing marine energy technologies and the sector must continue to bring forward innovative new technologies, if the energy requirements of the future – in an environmentally friendly sense – are ever to be met. Searaser goes a long way toward achieving that goal.