Nothing compares to the power of the ocean. It is no wonder that the frothing waters of the seas slamming against cliffs invoke nothing but respect. Anyone who has swum amongst the waves only to be thrown back onto the shore knows how useless it is to fight against a current. Enormous waves have battled ships and won, while tsunamis have sucked countless homes out to sea. Even stones succumb to the torment of the ocean, taking on the shape pounded into them by the repetitive force of the waters. It is hard to imagine anything with more force than the sea.
It was only a matter of time before innovators such as the company “Wave Energy Technologies (WET)” discovered a way to harness the constant energy provided by the perpetually fluctuating waves of the sea. This is especially important since fossil fuels will not be an option forever. Since establishing itself in 2004, Wave Energy Technologies, has moved toward the goal of developing a fully functional “wave energy conversion device.” The Wet EnGen design was developed within that year and has undergone intense testing since then.
As illustrated in their website, “The main feature of the WET EnGen is its Smart Float which travels along a rigid spar at an incline of 45 degrees. The spar is moored at a single point of contact which allows the device to be fully compliant on all three axes (pitch, roll and yaw).” Follow this link to view an illustration showing the process.
Vice President, Perry E. Toms, explains the design in a little more detail: ” The WET EnGen has been successfully demonstrated in both sea trials just outside Halifax as well as in many tests conducted at National Research Council indoor wave tank facilities in Ottawa and St. Johns, NL. The device has a unique design and motion that automatically adjusts itself to capture the strongest wave energy in water depths ranging from 50 meters to many hundreds of meters. This design also can withstand storms and rough seas…The size of the units vary; a 20 kW unit was tested at Sandy Cove Nova Scotia which was approximately 5 meters x 5 meters on top and about 4.5 meters deep whereas a larger 250 kW unit would be larger at about 20 meters square on top and about 18 meters deep. The larger sized unit could provide all the electricity needs for approximately 150 homes.”
This device easily converts wave energy into electrical power or pressurized water for desalination. It seems that the potential for the Wet EnGen is immense. It is hard to beat this product with low maintenance costs and productivity in all areas including those with smaller waves.
One concern, however, is the environmental impact these devices will have. No one wants their pristine view of the ocean ruined by a dozen floating Wet EnGens. Toms argues that their technology is efficient and obstruction is minimal: “The WET EnGen, like an iceberg, has over 90% of its mass under water and does not present a visual detriment to coastal installations – most projects will be located hundreds of meters from shore. Also because wave energy is very dense, a wave energy farm will be much smaller in surface size compared to an equivalent sized wind project and can be designed with minimum impact to both the environment or to fishing or other marine enterprise.”