Generating electricity from ocean currents and waves is still far from being an accomplished reality, despite efforts being made by innovators like Shmuel Ovada and his SDE wave energy company. But now, the idea of using the tremendous power of the sea to create energy is much closer to practical reality with the completion of what is being hailed as the world’s largest wave power hub that is estimated to be able to produce as much as 187,000 MWh of electricity per year.
The Wave Hub
The device, known as a wave hub, is currently being tested in the Atlantic Ocean, about 12 miles off the English coastal town of Hayle. The Wave Hub weighs about 12 tons, costs $64 Million or 41 Million Pounds Sterling, and is said to be able to generate about 5 MW of electrical power on each of it’s four “arms.” The amount of electricity produced would be enough to provide power for as many as 20,000 homes.
The Wave Hub’s unique design is said to be able to produce more electricity than older buoy designs now in operation off the coast of Spain, and SDE’s 60 KW test model now in operation off the coast of Jaffa, south of Tel Aviv.
Wave energy devices are still considered to be cumbersome, and when installed take up a certain amount of surface area in the water. However, the Wave Hub’s specially designed generators built into each hub arm, takes up much less space in the water, and is capable of generating more electricity.
The idea of harnessing the power of natural forces like the wind and ocean waves has been one of mankind’s dreams for eons. Now it appears that these ideas are becoming reality with wind turbines in use all over the world, solar energy plants in operation in many countries, and geo-thermal energy plants in operation as well.
Renewable energy generated by these means is virtually 100% clean; and in the long run will be significantly beneficial to our planet. If the Wave Hub’s design works out, and is combined with devices like the ones that SDE produces, a considerable amount of clean energy can be produced.
Governmental authorities in Ovadia’s native country, Israel, should well consider investing more in wave and other forms of renewable energy instead of pursuing natural gas in under water gas fields in the eastern Mediterranean Sea. The environmental advantages of renewable energy over fossil fuels, including natural gas, far outweigh the short term benefits of a fuel; even though it is a bit cleaner than oil, natural gas is still a contributor to global warming.
As for wave energy, what can be cleaner than the pounding of the tides against either buoys or hub arms?
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