Wave Farm Swims For Power In Portugal

The world’s first ever wave farm went live at the end of September in Agucadoura, off the coast of northern Portugal. Three wave energy converters resembling Soviet submarines generate electricity with hydraulic rams driven by waves. The farm was designed by Pelamis Wave Power, which hopes to increase the farms productivity by adding an additional 25 wave energy converters that could potentially power 15,000 homes.

Waves powering homes? Remarkable, but how does it work?

The “Soviet submarines” are

tethered to the ocean floor by cables and are pointed perpendicular to the coastline. Each device is composed of several sections connected with articulated joints. As the waves roll in past the device, each section is driven up and down, while the hydraulic rams inside resist the motion. This resistance pumps high pressure fluid through hydraulic motors, which drive electric generators, thereby producing electricity. This electricity is then transmitted via underwater cables to the mainland.

Now, if the cables just so happened to be severed by an outside force, this could be a new found way to go fishing. I call it: shock fishing.

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One comment

  1. The sad thing is we could have had an earlier version of these working en masse in the UK 20-25 years ago (and protecting the more fragile bits of our coastline from storm waves, to boot), but someone in the government dealing with power generation either botched or deliberately tampered with the cost:benefit figures (shares in BP, perhaps?) making it look prohibitively expensive to run. Rather than, you know, fairly cheap and cheaper with every passing day.

    Good job someone in Portugal finally had the sense to order up some of the improved versions. Let’s see how they do for the NEXT two decades….

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