How The Wave Star Machine Harvests Clean Electricity From The Sea

The Wave Star Machine and  the Future of Wave Energy Conversion

As the negative effects of fossil-based energy sources become more apparent, the search for renewable and sustainable energy sources intensifies. This search led one dedicated research team to develop a wave energy converter technology they later named the Wave Star. The new energy company based in Denmark has produced  technology to harness the power of the sea.

Standing on the Wave Star float

Standing on the Wave Star float

Since its establishment in 2003, the company has seen significant growth and has proven itself as one of the leaders in wave/sea energy conversion. In fact, Wave Star built the first wave energy machines to supply electricity to a commercial grid. The company currently operates research and test machines in the Danish and North Sea fjords.

Wave Star’s main project is an off-shore mini-power plant equipped with two movable floats that are attached to a platform. The two large floats move up and down as the waves and sea current move underneath them. This constant motion is transferred by hydraulics and then converted into electricity by a generator installed inside the platform. The two floats are just prototypes which means they are still being tested to find ways on how to maximize their potential.

The two prototype floats that the company currently operates produce enough clean electricity to power at least 20 homes which is small for sure but represents what is possible once it is mature and scaled up. Wave Star estimates that a full-sized plant can have 20 floats which can produce electricity for 400 homes. However, the company’s goal is to scale the output so that a single plant can supply energy for 4000 households. The company’s 500 kW machine is already being polished for commercial production. The company is also rebuilding its power plant to accommodate two additional floats and a brand new state of the art PTO (power take-off system).

Wave Star has also partnered with other alternative energy companies to improve the technology that runs the wave-harvesting machine. For instance, the company plans to integrate wind turbines into the overall design of the machine and platforms. The turbines can significantly help in increasing the efficiency of the machines as well as in reducing expenses. The energy harvested from the waves and wind will also be utilized to power the platform’s motors and generators. With the technology, Wave Star is aiming to produce by 2017 a machine that can be installed in larger rougher seas and oceans.

About Gordon Smith
Gordon's expertise in the area of industrial energy efficiency and alternative energy. He is an experienced electrical engineer with a Masters degree in Alternative Energy technology. He is the co-founder of several renewable energy media sites including Solar Thermal Magazine.

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