An undisclosed Muslim state in Africa has signed a deal with Israel’s SDE Energy & Desalination for a 100 megawatt power station that will harness the power of waves as electricity.
SDE head Shmuel Ovadia says the $100 million facility is expected to bring in $1 billion worth of revenue over the contract’s 25-year term.
The company claims wave energy can supply 500 times global electricity needs. Ovadia says per square meter, sea waves have four times the power generation capacity of wind power. Further, SDE claims the technology doesn’t pollute and comes at a lower cost than wind turbines.
Ovadia says the power plant’s model is easy to understand: “Our system is built on one side of wave gatherers, which can also serve as breakers. It is composed of a system of channels of hydraulic oil, whereby the rise of the pistons creates pressure on the hydraulic oil. The hydraulic oil is accumulated in a pressurized container and is then directed toward a hydraulic motor. This energy turns an electrical generator, which produces electricity.”
SDE is looking for institutional investors to provide financial guarantees for the project. In total, it claims to have letters of intent for about $3 billion worth of contracts across the globe.
Ovadia hopes coastal countries will reap three benefits from adopting the technology: “savings in foreign currency currently needed to buy oil or coal; clean energy production; and grants from the World Bank.”
While wave power isn’t new (attempts to harness it for electrical applications are recorded from as early as the 1890’s), commercial applications are. SDE has run a model producing 40 electrical kilowatts (ekW) for over a year. But, Scotland’s Pelamis Wave Power beat SDE to launch the first commercial wave farm with the 23 September 2008 launch of Portugal’s Aguçadoura Wave Park. Pelamis is expected to increase the wave farm’s 2.3 MW capacity to 21 MW.