Wave Power Concept Pitches Jersey Beach Town

The seemingly endless variety of wave power wannabes includes designs that work by using the motion of the ocean to send pressurized water ashore, where generators can turn that force into electricity. Such “pump-to-shore” devices are making some progress in Australia and in Scotland – could New Jersey be next?

The Asbury Park Press reported over the weekend that the company Clean Wave Energy was in preliminary talks – very preliminary, we should stress – with the borough of Point Pleasant Beach about locating a system there.

point pleasant beach, wave power

image via Wikipedia/Leif Knutsen

The pitch from Clean Wave Energy is that the Jersey Shore town could use the funds received from state renewable energy credits – which would be worth $120,000 annually, the company says – to pay to fix up a boardwalk that’s apparently in need of several million dollars’ worth of TLC.

The company told the paper it liked the Point Pleasant Beach location because the seafloor dropped off relatively quickly to the 50-foot depth necessary for the wave energy converters to function, allowing for the possibility of siting the devices 3,000 feet from shore instead of a few miles out.

Clean Wave Energy hasn’t tested its concept at any scale, it seems, but the company does provide a fair bit of detail on its website. The device consist of a displacement pump connected to an anchor block on the seafloor, and then linked by a flexible steel cable to a foam float encased in fiberglass. The float-pump apparatuses would shoot the water ashore through a subsea pipeline.

“As the piston is drawn down by the tension spring, it continues to draw water through the filter into the pump housing,” the company says. “When the float begins to exert an upward force on the piston, the water in the top side of the pump is forced out through the top check valve at a pressure greater than 200 pounds per square inch. This pressurized water is then conveyed through pipes to a manifold where it is joined with other pump lines to go on shore to the hydroelectric generators.”

On Page 2: Other similar devices are further along

Pete Danko is a writer and editor based in Portland, Oregon. His work has appeared in Breaking Energy, National Geographic's Energy Blog, The New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle and elsewhere.

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