Wave power - ocean waves for energy extraction.

altOne of the great challenges for all wave power technologies is the adaptation of the construction to the extreme forces that occur during storms. Seabased's wave power technology is based on small units with all parts deployed on the seabed except for a buoy on the surface. Thus the power plant is well safeguarded and can withstand the high forces with a minimum of maintenance. Seabased's solution results in a robust and very efficient machine with a high capacity factor, which makes it possible to deliver renewable energy at a reasonable cost.

The Swedish company Seabased's wave power technology utilizes the water motion in waves to directly drive the wave power plants. The active element is a unique directly driven permanent magnet linear generator. The generator is specially designed to take advantage of the slow movement of the waves that is transferred to it via a buoy (point absorber) on the ocean surface.The buoy action is transferred directly to the generator with no intermediate mechanical gearing since the generator is optimized to output high power even at slow speeds.The movement of the waves (about 15 wave cycles/min) causes the translator (corresponding to the swiftly turning rotor of a conventional generator) to move up and down within the stator, thus converting the kinetic energy of the wave to electric energy. Very powerful neodymium-iron-boron magnets are mounted on the translator. They create an alternating magnetic field which penetrates the stator windings. The stroke length of the translator is limited by end stops at the top and bottom.

Barriers and Drivers

The future prospects for Seabased Industry AB are bright. The production of energy from sea waves has been in development for some years, but has still not reached the commercial stage. In order to move this process forward, Seabased will, in cooperation with energy company Fortum Oy, develop a large size wave energy production demonstration plant. The Swedish government has granted SEK 139 million ( ca. € 15 million) to support this effort.  The project is estimated at a total R&D cost of SEK344 million (€37.5 million) and the European Commission has recently given its "Green light" (on 9 November 2011) to approve this project.  The Commission's decision finds that the public funding towards the project is compatible with the EU Framework for State aid for research, development and innovation (R&D&I).

Economic Performance

Seabased's system is scalable. A wave energy park built using Seabased's concept can be expanded in stages. Electricity can be generated and delivered to the grid with only a few units installed. Consequently cost recovery can begin long before the entire wave energy park is completed. Seabased's generators have a nominal power of 10-50 kW. The installed power of a medium large wave energy park with 2000 generators, with an average power of 10 kW per generator, is 20 MW with an expected production of 50 GWh per year. Using Seabased's system electrical energy is expected to be generated at very competitive costs with no need for long term subventions or tax reductions.

Environmental Impact

Wave power is a renewable and emission free energy source with a large potential to substitute carbon based energy resources.The global wave energy potential is at least as big as that of hydropower. Different estimates range from 10,000 to 15,000 TWh per year worldwide.

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