Wave Action Power


Wave Action Power is the transport of waves, particularly ocean waves, and the capture of that mechanical energy in to something usefulSome examples are for electricity generation, desalination or the pumping of water to reservoirs.

Though often co-mingled, wave action power is distinct from  tidal power and the steady gyro motion of ocean currents.

Wave action power generation is not currently a widely employed technology, although there have been attempts at using it since at least 1890.  The world's first commercial wave farm is based in Portugal, at the Aguçadoura Wave Park, which consists of three 750 kilowatt Pelamis devices.

 There are some challenges associated with this type of power.  A few are listed below.

    (1) Efficiently converting wave motion into electricity. Generally wave action power is available in low-speed, high forces, and the motion of the forces is not necessarily in a single direction.
    (2) The most readily-available electric generators operate at higher speeds, and most available turbines require a constant and consistent steady flow to be efficient.
     (3)Engineering, constructing and manufacturing devices that can survive storm damage and corrosion. The most likely sources of failure include bearing failure, broken welds and snapped mooring lines. With this knowledge, engineers may create prototypes that are so overbuilt that material and manufacturing costs prohibit affordable production.
    (4) High total cost of electricity. Wave action power can only be competitive when the cost of generation is reduced (or the total cost of power generated from other sources increases).
    (5)Impacts on the marine environment.  Such as noise pollution, could have negative impact if not monitored.
    (6) In terms of socio-economic challenges, wave farms will result in displacement of commercial fishing.
    (7) Currently, at least in the US, development of wave farms is currently hindered by a maze of regulatory hurdles and limited research and developement funding.