‘Wave & Tide Energy’ Category
By Kirsten Korosec | December 7, 2011, 9:04 AM PST
Tremont Electric, creator of the motion-powered gadget charger, wants to scale up its kinetic energy harvesting tech to turn the Great Lakes into a power plant— of sorts.
The nPower Wave Energy Converter developed by the Cleveland-based company is about the size of an automobile and can be integrated into buoys. Inside the converter is a magnet, which moves along with an induction coil to generate pulses of current. A mechanical fuse line would runs from the anchor to the buoy as a primary elastic line (see graphic below). That current is then collected at a transfer hub and delivered to the power grid. Voilà, wave-generated electricity for all! Or at least for folks who live nearby.
The tech inside the wave converter is essentially the same as its personal energy generator (PEG), which charges a battery when a magnet, placed between two springs, moves up and down. The PEG device is tuned for walking, but it also has the ability to harvest ambient vibrations from pedaling around on a bike or riding in a car or train.
Founder and CEO Aaron LeMieux says in the video below the wave converter would be commercially viable and able to compete with coal-fired electricity. He claims the wave electricity could be sold at 5 to 7 cents per kilowatt hour. He also sees an opportunity for the devices to be made in Ohio, a state where 10.3 percent of displaced workers have come from the manufacturing industry.
The company proposes anchoring clusters of buoys onto the floor of Lake Erie. According to a recent video produced by the company, testing was supposed to be conducted this past summer.
Of course, even if the tech works, there are numerous challenges to work through before the project would be able to power homes of Ohioans. The buoys might not attract the same NIMBY reaction as offshore wind turbines, but it could face some public backlash. And the company must navigate the permitting process. According to Great Lakes Echo, the company will need submerged land leases, which are regulated by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.
» posted on Saturday, April 17th, 2010 at 5:28 pm by Woody Wilson viewed 55 times
Like a deep-sea fisherman of the past, UK-based Aquamarine Power believes it has conquered the cruel environment of the world’s oceans to bring almost limitless clean energy ashore.
Source: Aquamarine Power
AquaMarine’s Oyster technology.
“Two concepts make it stand out—designed simplicity, and inherent survivability,” says Aquamarine CEO Martin McAdam about the Oyster, its new wave-powered generating technology.
In a tough operating environment that has crushed or drowned many competitors, the Oyster is currently generating energy off the Orkney Islands in northern Scotland by taking the radical approach of leaving the electricity-producing components of its power plant on land.
“This is one of the main challenges facing all ocean energy technologies—how to ensure devices will survive,” he says.
The Oyster’s core is a buoyant, hinged flap that sways backwards and forwards in the waves near shore. This motion drives two hydraulic pistons which push high pressure water onshore to drive a conventional hydroelectric turbine.
That keeps the production end of the equipment—the generator, converters, transformers and circuit breakers – high and dry onshore for easy maintenance and operation.
“In essence, the Oyster is simply a large pump which provides the power for a conventional hydroelectric plant,” says McAdam. “There are only seven moving parts offshore—a hinge, two hydraulic pumps that pump the high pressure water to the shoreline and four valves.”
Despite McAdam’s cutting edge technology, the promise of harvesting ocean energy from waves, tides and currents is not new.
For several decades, many test projects have been tried but few achieved scalability, with most concepts succumbing to the operating environment and to high costs of production.
Peter Asmus, an analyst with cleantech research firm Pike Research, says the industry is only now getting starting to build a new generation of technologies, like the Oyster,
“[One] reason why the ocean has not yet been industrialized on behalf of energy production is that the technologies, materials and construction techniques did not exist until now to harness this renewable energy resource in any meaningful and cost effective way,” he says.
The resource is clearly abundant. The Electric Power Research Institute, an independent energy research organization, estimates that the U.S. could produce 10 gigawatts of wave power and 3 gigawatts of tidal power within 10 years.
That would be enough to produce six percent of U.S. electrical demand—similar to the amount provided by hydroelectricity today. Tidal power could replace another three percent of that demand.
Europe Leads Race
Currently, most ocean energy development takes place in Europe, spurred by cap-and-trade policies that make renewable energy price-competitive and by governments racing to subsidize the nascent sector.
“While wave and tidal developers are offered lavish subsidies amounting to about 30 cents per kilowatt hour in Europe, the U.S. currently offers a measly one cent per kilowatt hour on top of wholesale rates,” says Pike’s Asmus, pointing out that it is about half of the subsidy offered to onshore wind power projects, “a fully commercialized technology,” he says.
McAdam is happy to take advantage. He calculates the Oyster could generate in excess of 50 gigawatts of power worldwide, “giving us an estimated accessible global market of $190 billion for our technology alone.”
But even if the technology proves itself, large-scale ocean energy projects face the same hurdles that such projects face on land—a spotty transmission grid and a financing crunch still thwarting many big infrastructure projects.
One savior may be a competing renewable energy technology: offshore wind power
Offshore wind projects mount proven and scalable wind turbine technology on platforms at sea. These could work in conjunction with ocean energy systems like Aquamarine’s Oyster, providing crucial infrastructure to make wave and tidal power more viable.
“It could be offshore wind projects finance the transmission lines and [ocean energy] piggybacks on that,” says Asmus.
The mix of the two renewable power sources makes them more reliable to electricity consumers, says Aquamarine’s McAdam.
Advantages To Rivals
“One of the advantages of wave energy is that it is complementary to wind,” he says. “Waves are created by weather systems far out at sea, and very often when the wind drops, waves increase.”
He says waves are more predictable than wind, adding that “the more sources of green energy you have in the energy mix, the less intermittent it becomes.”
Michael Kanellos, researcher and editor-in-chief with research firm Greentech Media/GTM Research, says that even with those benefits it will still be tough to attract investment for ocean power.
“You’re trying to build something in the world’s worst environment,” he says. “If you’re going to build offshore, you could build offshore wind [more easily]. It’s going to be tough going up against offshore wind.”
He adds this will likely be a niche technology for years to come, with projects deployed in very specific locales to generate power to sell into the wider power grid, or to provide local energy for more remote communities less connected to the grid.
“Some of the best tides in the world are unfortunately on the most unpopulated coastlines,” Kanellos says.
While he’s all for synergy between offshore wind and wave power, McAdam isn’t asking for any favors.
“Our goal is to produce wave energy that is cost-competitive with offshore wind,” he says. “We are a few years off that yet, but we estimate that by 2017, our technology costs will have reduced sufficiently to meet that goal.”
And it may have been a long time coming, but says the opportunity is much closer today than it has been.
“It is expected that within the next five to eight years, these emerging technologies will become commercialized to the point that they can begin competing for a share of the burgeoning market for carbon-free and non-polluting renewable resources,” he says. “We need wind, we need solar, but we should also be smart and be in a good position to tap the immense power of our oceans.”
Free power isn’t totally free you will need to invest in equipment; but the power you make will be free. You have a large advantage over power companies when you make free power at home. No delivery charge.
Power companies collect power or convert it then deliver it. They divide the cost of investment over 30 to 50 years and charge you for the investment and delivery amortized over time.
What is the delivery cost if you make your own power (Zilch, zero, nothing)? If you hire a contractor to install energy devices at your home the cost will not be much cheaper than the Power Company. Your payback period will be as high as 25 years, not much better than the Power Company’s payback period.
The rules change when you make your own power with a do-it-yourself (DIY) approach. No delivery charge, no contractor cost and investment payback period is usually under 5 years.
Here are seven reasons to make DIY homemade power:
1.) Free power is everywhere. You just need to collect it.
2.) Collecting free power is easy with solar, wind, and solar hot water systems.
3.) Free power investment is cheap for DIY. DIY projects can be 1/10 the cost of commercial and payback is 5-10 times faster, usually under 5 years.
4.) The governments encourage free power collection. The government will pay you. In the USA the tax credit is 30% up to $2000 for solar electric and solar hot water and up to $4,000 for small wind turbine. That is not much for commercial investment of $20,000 to $80,000; but this is a lot for DIY projects of $100 to $6,000.
5.) Free power is green. The more you collect the less the power company pollutes our planet. That makes a greener planet for our future and the kids’ future.
6.) Do-it-yourself guides that make free power projects easy and low cost are cheap. Projects are a $100 – $200 investment. Multiple projects can get you off the grid completely.
7.) Remote sites like a vacation home or cabin, hunting lodge, campsites can be powered by these free power projects, no gas generator and no kerosene.
Solar panels are a collection of solar cells, soldered together into a system. The cells can be purchase on eBay for about $50 per 100 watts of power. You assemble the cells in to 70 – 175 watt panels. Installing the panels is a matter of some brackets and wire. Solar panel installation is much more flexible and portable than wind turbines.
Solar panels produce 18+ volts in to a battery charge controller. The controller fills deep cycle batteries with the power during the day. Power can be generated most days, even with clouds.
The limitation of solar panels is the sun. It’s up only half the day. A power inverter converts the battery’s power to household power for your normal use, day or night. Building several panels can achieve 1000+ watts of power.
Wind turbine is not for everyone. You need an open space, not because they are too large but because the wind flows better in the open. You need a minimum of 10+ M.P.H. wind speed with 20+ M.P.H. being ideal. An advantage to wind turbines is the wind can blow all day to produce power day or night. Another consideration is the wind turbine needs to be on a tower.
The taller the better, in the 20 – 60 foot range. This usually requires local zoning permits. If these are not a problem you will get twice the power out of a wind turbine than for the same investment in solar panels. The break-even point is $400. More than that, the wind turbine is less costly to build for the same power output.
You can easily get 450 watts to 1,000 watts from one DIY homemade turbine. Like the Solar Panel description above, you store the energy in deep cycle batteries and use an inverter to make household power, day or night.
The power required for a home hot water heater is about 30% of the household energy budget. The solar hot water can easily cut that in half. Solar hot water uses the greenhouse effect.
Build a box with a glass cover and some pipes and you can get hot water in the range of 120 – 130 degrees Fahrenheit winter and summer. Feed this hot water into you hot water heater for storage and the hot water heater will shut down, no power consumption. The hot water heater will only run when a boost is required like washing clothes. The construction is cheap and easy.
Think about it. Free heat for the garage, basement or out-building. No wires not power costs. Supplement your house heater with free heat from the sun for as little as $30 in parts.
Assuming you have most of the common parts around your garage, then yes you can. Even if it costs you a little more, its a fun “DIY Project” for the weekend.
Geothermal heating and cooling technology provides exceptional performance and the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) agrees that a geothermal heat pump is the most energy-efficient, environmentally clean, and most cost-effective space conditioning system available.
Today’s best geothermal systems outperform the best gas technology, gas heat pumps, by an average of 36% in heating mode and 43% in cooling mode!
You can save 25-50% on home electric bills compared to conventional heating and cooling systems. Imagine what you could do with the extra money in your wallet!
The Reason for Guides
Do you want to know how to do these projects, what materials to buy, how big or small to make things? Get a DIY guide is the answer. For under $50 you can get a step-by-step guide, a plan and in some cases where needed you get a video tutorial.
Which guide is best? Where do you get the guide. Go to www.ResidentialEnergykit.com for help.
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