Nanotech 2011

Mobile Wave Energy Harvesting System

A. Sharon, J. Briggs, H. Wirz
Boston University - Fraunhofer CMI, US

Keywords: wave energy, ocean energy, mobile

Abstract:

Conventional approaches to harvesting energy from ocean waves and currents suffer from at least three major drawbacks: 1) expensive underwater power transmission cables, 2) storm damage susceptibility, and 3) energy output is not delivered at times of peak load. These factors translate into high electricity cost/KWH. Consequently, market economics do not drive the deployment and use of ocean energy, and the technology is only moving forward through government incentives. This paper presents an economically viable, alternative method of harvesting ocean wave energy, comprised of a boat with an on-board wave energy harvesting system, and on-board energy storage capacity. A typical system consists of 50 meter boat with 1 MW capacity wave energy harvesting equipment and 20 MWH of energy storage capability. Operationally, the boat cruises to a favorable location off-shore, harvests energy for approximately 20 hours, cruises back to shore, connects to the electricity grid, and releases the stored energy during high demand periods. Preliminary calculations promise electricity cost of 15 cents per KWh. The proposed concept is a modular, distributed energy system in which numerous such small boats harvest wave energy off the entire coast-line. This means that the energy is produced near the point of use, eliminating the need for new infrastructure, like high power transmission lines typically needed for wind energy, or special docking facilities, as conventional marinas suffice.
 

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