Wave Device Captures Power Of Near-Shore Surge

Last month we reported on a Finnish company Wello that developed a a half-megawatt wave energy device called the Penguin. That device will be plugged in at the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) in Scotland’s Orkney Islands. Aiming for 100 percent renewable power by 2020, Scotland has been ramping up its wave and tidal power as well as its offshore wind energy. It currently has around one quarter of Europe’s tidal resources.

But the ocean power fever is catching on. Another Finnish company, AW-Energy, just announced it will be rolling out a new kind of device, bound for the waters of Portugal.  Called the WaveRoller, the device is an ocean energy converter that specializes in operating in shallow waters, about 50 to 70 feet. AW-Energy has already deployed three of the pre-commercial devices (100 kilowatts each) to Peniche shipyard in Portgual as part the EU’s Surge project (Simple Underwater Production of Renewable Electricity), which was launched in 2009 and it set to fund real scale ocean energy demonstration projects through the end of this year.

waveroller, aw energy

image via AW Energy

This summer, once winter passes and the seas calm down, AW-Energy will deploy the next phase of its technology,  larger 600-800 kW devices, in the same Almagreira beach region of Portugal.

The company claims that the device solves many of the traditional ocean energy problems because it is designed to function in close proximity to shore. The devices will be easily accessible for maintenance and closer for transmission lines. Installation and maintenance is therefore cheaper and more efficient. Here’s the system working, in an animation provided by the company:

Invented in 1993 by a Finnish professional diver, the device uses the horizontal motion of the ocean to move vertical wings that spin a turbine.

Shifra Mincer is a freelance journalist and passionate tweeter (@Shiframincer) currently living in Israel. Before moving to Israel to apprentice with a homebirth midwife, Shifra worked as Associate Editor of AOL Energy, and was a member of the launch team that got the site up and running. Shifra has over a half a decade of experience in journalism and has written on women's health, green technology, politics and regulation of the energy industry, energy financial news, and local news. While studying for her B.A. at Harvard College, Shifra worked as a news editor for the Harvard Crimson. Shifra is also a yoga teacher and a birth doula and is hoping to create an active Jewish birth community through her web venture www.layda.org.