What is wave hub energy and what can we learn from this research?
The solution to the our energy problems can only be found in weaning ourselves from our dependence on non-renewable, environmentally destructive sources of power. Renewable, clean energy sources can meet or exceed the global need for sources of fuel inexpensively and without harming the environment.
We have the technology to make this possible, and new ways of providing energy are being researched every day. One such energy alternative being investigated is Wave Hub technology.
The Wave of the Future?
Experiments utilizing wave power for energy generation have been conducted since the 1850s. Most of these experiments that focused on harnessing the power of waves on the ocean’s surface and converting it to electricity had some success, but limited scope. Since that time, technology has enabled further study onto the possibilities of using one of our largest resources into common and widespread usage. The Wave Hub is one of the technologies currently in the research and development stage.
The Wave Hub is a sort an outlet or socket that sits on the ocean floor about ten miles of the coast of Cornwall, England. It is being used by researchers to study the benefits and feasibility of harnessing wave power using an offshore grid. All of the power generated by the project is being fed into the National Grid on the mainland.
The research being conducted on the four areas of the hub are a combined effort of three companies: Ocean Power Technologies Limited, Fred Olsen Limited, and WestWave; the final one is in negotiation with Oceanlinx. These four connections have a combined energy production capability of 25 MWe; enough to power 7,500 households. It has an upgrade capacity to 50 MWe, and takes u a total area of 8 square kilometers of seabed.
The Wave Hub produces energy in a four part process:
1. Machines in the ocean surface collect energy from the waves.
2. The energy is fed to cables which are connected to the ‘sockets’ on the hub.
3. The energy is fed to transformers on the mainland.
4. The transformers divert the energy to the National Grid to power homes and industry.
Other such grids are also in the research and development stage in several other locations around the globe, with comparable results.
What We Can Learn From Wave Hub Technology
Two-thirds of the Earth’s surface is covered by water. Finding ways to use renewable power sources such as wave-conversion effectively and responsibly will help us to eradicate, if not greatly reduce, our dependence on fossil fuels and the social, economic, and environmental damage they cause.
In developing and advancing technologies such as the Wave Hub, we can learn to meet the world’s increasing demand for power that is low-cost, clean, and efficient. That is a potential that is worth the effort to achieve. So far, the environmental impact of this technology seems to be negligible, but further research is indicated, as the technology is fairly new.
Sarah writes for a number of businesses in the renewable energy sector. He is currently based in Cornwall and writes about topics ranging from the wave hub in Hayle to the pros and cons of wind turbines.