Energy | October 03, 2008 |
Study: Ocean Waves Could Light A Continent
More than a third of Australia's power needs could be generated by wave technology, according to a report filed by giant engineering firm RPS MetOcean. The company specializes in engineering around coastal areas and monitoring the offshore oil industry.
If it pans out, it would make Australia the first continent that could receive a significant portion of its power from wave energy.
RPS MetOcean found that the waves around Australia constitute an energy resource of almost 200,000 megawatts, or four times the country's total currently installed power-generation capacity.
This report was commissioned by the Carnegie Corporation, which won a five-year exclusive license in August to identify suitable areas for a wave-energy facility off the coastline. The technology behind Carnegie's Ceto (named after the Greek sea goddess) has been under development for 10 years.
Ceto is designed to harness the enormous renewable energy in ocean waves in an effort to produce energy with zero emissions. The technology simultaneously provides desalinated water to the shore.
Long columns -- multiple individual submerged units -- are anchored to the sea floor, and sway in unison with the motion of passing waves. The columns drive pumps, which in turn pressurize seawater that is delivered on-shore through a pipeline on the ocean floor. Each 125-unit Ceto farm can make enough power for 15,000 households.
While a Ceto farm is industrial-looking, it's mostly submerged, so nearly invisible to humans. It's a very attractive solution for generating energy renewably, without attracting the NIMBY element.