Wave Energy System

Posted: October 17th, 2013





Wave Energy System

Literature Review

            The issue of environmental pollution has in particular warranted significant attention from high authorities as global states look to ally eco-friendly means existing to conserve our planet. In this regard, this paper was able to identify wave energy systems as emerging solutions to global pollution. Primarily, wave energy involves conveying energy via ocean surface waves and consequently capturing that energy to apply it in useful work, such as generating electricity, pumping water, and water desalination. An article by Tribal Energy and Environmental information maintains that environment friendly machinery with the capability of exploiting wave power is referred to as wave energy converter. It is important to understand that wave energy is different from ocean currents and tidal power.

Currently, wave power generation has not been employed vastly as a commercial technology because it is not possible to harness it everywhere. The few regions that have been able to harness this source of energy include Australia, Southern Africa, northern Canada, and the western coasts of Scotland. In terms of history, the first patent to apply this means of energy use goes back to 1798 by Girard and his son in Paris. A past application of the wave energy system is devices constructed by Frenchman Bochaux-Praceique in 1910 to power and light his house with green energy. This appears to be the first type of water column device for wave energy.


Primarily, waves emanate from the friction caused by the wind blowing against the sea surface. As long as the waves are able to move at a slower pace than the wind, then energy is transferred to the waves from the wind. Both the differences in air pressure of the leeward and the windward side of the wave crest together with the friction by the wind on the water surface cause the growth of waves due to shear stress. The height of the wave is determined by the speed of the wind and the time duration the wind has been in motion. A given speed of the wind and time is required to produce large enough waves. Generally, large waves posses high energy but this power is also determined by the water density and wavelength.

Once this has been into consideration, it is important to make careful selection of the site to set up the wave energy system. This is the main idea to maintaining the minimum effect of wave power systems on the environment. Parties responsible to planning wave energy systems can make significant alterations to the flow of sediment patterns to the ocean floor. From an economic point of view, wave systems pose a daunting task to compete with traditional sources of energy. Nevertheless, the costs associated with harnessing wave energy are reducing increasingly due to the advancement in technology. In this regard, experts in Europe predict that devices designed to harness wave energy will gain access to lucrative niche markets. Once established, their costs of operation and maintenance are low because the source of energy (seawater) is free in supply.

Sufficient investigation revealed a number of environmentally friendly technology and gadgets that can be used in the wave energy system. These devices pose zero pollution to the seawater and offer maximum efficiency at harnessing wave energy. Conversion of wave energy can be achieved through two means including offshore and onshore systems. In terms of offshore systems, energy harvesting takes place in deep water about more than 130 feet. Advanced mechanisms are used to bob wave motions to power an electricity-generating pump. Other offshore devices and machinery apply the use of float-connected hoses that ride along the waves. Rising and falling of the sea level causes the float to relax and stretch that in turn pressurizes the water, hence rotating the turbine. Specially designed seagoing vessels also work to capture escaping offshore wave energy. In turn, these floating platforms generate electricity by directing the waves through turbines and afterwards back into the ocean.

Methods Utilized

            The means of approach applied put into consideration the fact that global pollution has reached an alarming rate as the status of the environment slowly but constantly degrades. Another issue that prompted this research involves the increasing concern over high-energy costs due to limited fuel availability. These two problems are interdependent. They can be traced to the activity of burning fossil fuels, finite resources. Hence, the first method of approach involved categorizing the energy needed to sustain modern civilization. Results revealed main sources of energy include oil, gas, solid, fuels, and electricity. Gasoline and liquid fuels in particular are the largest used to power machinery.

Data analysis was conducted in terms of mostly used source of energy and analyzing the most suitable eco-friendly substitute. With current development in technology, the world is headed towards an era where motor vehicles and fuel consuming machinery will be powered by electricity. Mining for petroleum and oil is among the leading causes of global pollution. Upon analyzing this data, it can be established that employing wave energy systems is a positive move step towards fostering an eco-friendly society in addition to its low cost of production. These conclusions were made on reliance with data provided by the U.S Department of Energy website.

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