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8.2.1: Methods of Harnessing Wavepower

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    There is a large number of devices for converting wave power to electric power: from those that have already been working for several years, through prototypes at various stages of development, to those that are only concepts in their inventors’ minds. It’s far too many of them to describe them all in this e-text. We will present only a “small representation” of the entire “menagerie”.

    In the Author’s opinion, a reasonable approach has been used in a Wikipedia article on wave power: namely, of identifying six main generic concepts un- derlying the construction of wave energy converters:

    1. Point absorber;

    2. Attenuator;

    3. Oscillating wave surge converter;

    4. Oscillating water column;

    5. Overtopping device;

    6. Submerged pressure differential.

    These six concepts are graphically illustrated in Fig. 8.4.

    Cartoons of the six type of wave energy gathering devices
    Figure \(\PageIndex{1}\): The six generic concepts of wave energy converters – as illustrated graphically in the linked Wikipedia article.

    The overtopping device is probably historically the oldest concept, and its functioning is perhaps the most straightforward. The incoming wave runs over a ramp and into a reservoir, the bottom of which is at a higher higher than average water level. From the reservoir, the water return to the ocean through an opening in which a turbine is installed, connected to an electric generator.

    Drawing of an overtopping device with a large reservoir that feed the turbine
    Figure \(\PageIndex{1}\): The idea of an overtopping device (source: EIA Web page).

    8.2.1: Methods of Harnessing Wavepower is shared under a CC BY 1.3 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Tom Giebultowicz.

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