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Friday, February 20

who needs oil when we have this?

Okay, so that's a slightly embellished headline.

The thing is though, does anyone else think about how long it's taken for something so simple to be considered for generation energy?

Yes, we CAN harness the wave motion of the Pacific, and suck energy out of that!

'Harnessing waves for energy
Naomi Lubick
Environ. Sci. Technol., Article ASAP
Publication Date (Web): February 18, 2009
Copyright © 2009 American Chemical Society

Off Oregon’s rocky coast, sometime last September, scientists towed a 25-foot-tall buoy out to sea. Over several days, the tethered buoy converted the energy of coastal waves into pulses of energy. The exercise was an effort to test the output and durability of the buoy, which is a relatively simple “vertical” wave energy converter and one of the newest models to capture this form of renewable energy. It is also the 11th generation of a 7-kilowatt prototype for this technology.

Whether horizontal, like traditional wind turbines that dot windy landscapes, or vertical, like a bouncing pogo stick, these buoys are designed for one goal: harnessing energy from the continuous motion of oceans and rivers. Scientists are receiving significant amounts of funding to explore new technologies for wave energy and are making steady progress. But existing social, technical, and legal obstacles must be overcome before these technologies are deployed en masse in oceans.

The buoy tested last fall is one of several designs from engineer Annette von Jouanne’s lab, the Wallace Energy Systems and Renewables Facility at Oregon State University (OSU). In partnership with the U.S. Navy and wave energy company Columbia Power Technologies, von Jouanne and her colleagues designed buoys that are “point absorbers”, or “direct drive[s]” that move up and down with the waves. The motion runs “an electric generator directly without any mechanical linkages,” says Ted Brekken, an engineer and OSU professor on the team.

“We were quite happy with the results” of the most recent test, says Brekken. The buoy proved to be robust in fairly rough seas, he adds. For the new Oregon vertical buoy, scientists envision deploying arrays of larger versions to power a town or even provide up to one-tenth of Oregon’s energy needs.'

Whole piece can be found here. I know there will be some gnashing of teeth and pissing that well, it provides only up to 1/10 of Oregon's energy needs, that's not much. Just imagine what those needs would be if Oregon was completely energy efficient, though. If everyone had homes that were so energy efficient as to not need heating in the winters, nor cooling in the summers. Just as a for example.

Alternatives like ocean waves, and solar, and methane digestion work best if people are still looking towards conservation over all, but that's a grouse for another post. I'm just glad to read we're experimenting with this here, and it's getting some attention.

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