Wave-Powered Generator Ready For Prime Time?

SDE Energy, the manufacturer of a wave-powered hydraulic generator, claims its technology can produce electricity cheaper than other renewables – cheaper, actually, than conventional fuels like coal and gas. The Israeli company announced the completion of the 11th model of its sea wave-powered facility. The 1-kilowatt (kW) generator consists of a single float at the SDE factory in Tel Aviv. The company has also deployed a system in China, financed by the Chinese government.

The generator itself consists of a buoy which uses the motion of sea waves to generate hydraulic pressure, which is then transformed into electricity. The buoys rise and fall as a function of a wave’s speed, height and depth, and harness the energy produced by water flowing under an approaching wave.

wave power, SDE energy

image via Shutterstock

Although it is hard to confirm the legitimacy of SDE’s low price claim, the technology has been vetted by the chief scientist of Israel, the Israeli Ministry of Industry and Trade and the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency, a member of the of World Bank Group. The company also holds a U.S. patent.

What the wave-powered generator lacks in a catchy brand name or slick marketing materials, it makes up for in revolutionary fervor. The technology is the brainchild of inventor Shmuel Ovadia, a former Israeli Army engineer dedicated to reducing the impacts of climate change and fossil fuel dependence in the developing world. SDE is now seeking international investors and development opportunities. According to its website, the company has signed agreements for cooperation in Chile, Mexico, Zanzibar, Kenya and China.

Lauren Craig is a writer and consultant living in Seattle, WA. She holds an M.S. in International Development from Tulane University, and is co-founder of Sustainable Systems Integrators, LLC., an employee-owned solar energy design and installation firm in New Orleans, LA. She is also certified in PV design and installation by the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP).

1 Comment

  • Reply September 7, 2011

    Mike Straub

    Great to see someone pushing for waves. u00a0There is so much power in the oceans waiting to be tapped. u00a0Another great source is Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion. u00a0It produces clean power 24/7, not just when the waves are crashing. u00a0Check out The On Project to learn more about how OTEC is growing in popularity. u00a0http://tiny.cc/u6w94

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