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Israeli, British researchers devise novel system to predict wave power

A team of Israeli and British researchers have discovered that energy generated from the oceans can improve twofold through innovative methods that can predict wave power.

The researchers from Tel Aviv University in Israel and the University of Exeter in the United Kingdom targeted point absorbers or floating devices with components that move relative to each other in response to wave action.

These point absorbers, according to scientists, are more efficient in terms of the quantity of energy they generate, given that their response strongly matches the force of the waves. Enhancing their efficiency by calculating and controlling its internal forces brought by approaching waves can help optimize energy.

In addition, it allows a program to actively manage the response needed for a wave of a specific magnitude.

While marine energy promises another means of a renewable resource, its actual extraction and conversion is “not up to par with solar or wind power.” Also, it is not commercially competitive without subsidy, unlike the two common alternative sources.

Meanwhile, previous studies by some researchers demonstrated inability to ensure that the devices will not be damaged by the aggressive marine environment. Some also failed to improve the efficiency of energy capture from waves.

The Israeli and British researchers said the new system addressed these problems by enabling the point absorbers to accurately predict the power of the next wave and respond by extracting the maximum energy. Consequently, since the devices suitably respond to the force of the next wave, the chances for them to get damaged are reduced.

“Our research has the potential to make huge advances to the progress of marine renewable energy. This is a major step forward and could help pave the way for wave energy to play a significant role in providing our power.” said University of Exeter researcher Dr. Guang Li.

Wave energy offers a number of significant benefits. However, advancing this technology is a challenging task to do, he added.

For that matter, the researchers currently undertake steps to further the developments. “The next step is for us to see how effective this approach could be at a large scale, by testing it in farms of wave energy converters,” said researcher Dr. Markus Mueller of the Environment and Sustainability Institute at the University of Exeter.

The joint study is part of the Waveport project concerned with the demonstration and deployment of a commercial scale wave energy converter with an innovative real time wave by wave tuning system, and supported by a €4.5 million ($5.6 million) grant from the Energy Theme of the Europe’s Seventh Framework Programme. – Catherine Dominguez



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