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Ocean wave


Technology Description

Wave Energy Converters (WECs) harness the energy contained in the movement of the waves. WEC placement is flexible; WECs can be deployed on or near the shoreline, or at a distance of over 100 metres from the shore. Wave technology remains at an earlier stage of development than tidal stream technology, with novel device prototypes undergoing testing in real sea conditions. A range of innovative wave device design concepts are in testing globally; wave energy is comparatively further from technological convergence. Successful design convergence may not resemble that of tidal technology; instead, a wider variety of different designs may be successful, given the broad spectrum of feasible ways to harness energy from the waves. Wave prototypes are currently found in four main forms. The point absorber is a floating structure that absorbs energy through the movement of the waves at the water's surface. The attenuator sits across the wave front, capturing energy by selectively constraining the movement caused by the passing wave. The hinged flap is mounted on the seabed in shallower water, and harnesses energy through an oscillating flap. Finally, the Oscillating Water Column (OWC) is a partially-submerged, hollow structure open to the sea water below the surface, trapping air above the water. The rising and falling waves compress and decompress this air, which is channelled through an air turbine. WEC technology developers are seeking to improve the power rating of their devices through design optimisation. This will allow for proving of the technology at higher TRLs, and proceeding to commercialisation.

Relevance for Net Zero

Key Countries

Canada, China, Denmark, India, Norway, Portugal, Sweden, United Kingdom, Korea, Japan, Spain, United States

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