Last May we covered a Danish made floating wind and wave energy device called Poseidon 37. While we’ve heard little news on it since then, we’re pleased to see that development on a similarly conceived device from Principle Power in Seattle, Washington is getting its sea legs. The device, called WindWaveFloat, is designed to harness energy from deep sea waves and winds at the same time.
The WindWaveFloat differs from other offshore wind energy devices in that it doesn’t need a foundation on the sea floor to keep it stable. Its platform is designed to float below the surface of the water, anchored to the sea bed by cables. Since it requires no traditional foundation, it can be placed much further offshore, both out of the sight of beach-goers and in a location where winds are more powerful and sustained.
The device has a triangular shape with three large columns at each of its points. One of the columns can support a wind turbine while the other two are ballasted to ensure the platform remains stable. That stability allows for existing turbine designs to be installed without any special modifications, which reduces costs.
This design builds on the company’s existing WindFloat model such that it can support wave energy generation. According to a recent Energy Department story, it seems that the company is still deciding on what sort of wave energy generator will work best. The company reports that it has commenced wave tank testing and is working toward a solution that will fit the platform best. Once the wave generator is integrated, it can use the same undersea power transmission system that the wind energy portion uses, a factor the company notes should facilitate lower energy costs.
With the WindWaveFloat still in the prototype phase, only time will tell when it might see commercialization, but the $1.4 million in funding from the Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy that the company has received could be the necessary nudge needed to get a working model out to sea. We’ll be sure to keep an eye out for both Poseidon 37 and WindWaveFloat developments in the future.