Wave-powered electric generators on trial

Dhaka,  Monday,   2016-09-23
Published : 23 Sep 2016, 22:13:35

Wave-powered electric generators on trial

FIRST ocean wave-powered electricity generators are on line off the coast near Hawaii. They are developed and commissioned by US researchers. The power for generation in this case comes from the rise and fall of ocean waves. At present, the first generator is located off the sea, and is connected by an undersea cable to a local grid on shore.

It is possibly the first ocean wave-produced electricity anywhere in the world. It is estimated that the ocean's endless wave motion can generate enough power to meet a sizable part of U.S energy requirement. Till date, this technology that has been recently developed, lags far behind developments in solar and wind power and there are important technical hurdles to overcome.

To do this, the US authorities, have established a test site in Hawaii, with the hope that this technology can in the future be a source of clean renewable power and feed many fuel-starved coastal communities around the world using the nearby ocean or sea waves, replacing the supply of conventional liquid, solid and gaseous fuel sources. Hawaii appears to fit this situation ideally with many small sea shore-based communities. Also the cost of power generation in that island is the highest in the USA, as power generation there is based on expensive imported liquid fuel. However it is felt that it could be between five to ten years from now, before wave technology of power generation can be an affordable alternative to traditional fossil fuels.

US developers are still trying to come up with the best suitable design of the buoys that capture the wave motion. Some buoys capture the up and down motion of waves, while other developers feel that equipment based on the ocean front movement to and off the shore, may be more successful. Further it is essential that any equipment developed should be able to withstand powerful storms and the endless pounding of the waves on the shore as well as corrosive effects from the sea's salt water. US authorities concerned, that are financing this development project, estimate that it will be possible to generate around 25 per cent of its energy needs from waves, without encroaching on any sensitive marine preserves. In our national interest, it will be good if we can ask for USA's help in exploring our accessible sea shore locations for installation wave power generation facilities as and where possible, more so as we are depending on imported fuel for all our power generation needs, except a  very little quantity coming from solar power.

Engr. S.A.Mansoor

House23, Road10, Gulshan-1

 sam@dhakacom.com

 
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