Assessment of relevant technologies Essay

Submitted By tdobrzanski
Words: 699
Pages: 3

3 Assessment of Existing Relevant Technologies
Due to the recent increase in environmental awareness and concern about the environmental impact of many activities, there has been an increased focus on the development of technologies that do not rely on “dirty” energy sources such as coal or oil. One of these forms of power generation is wave power. Although there has been some progress in the large-scale industrial production of power from the waves, there has not been any focus on small, personal applications of this technology.
The existing large-scale generators based off of wave energy fall into four categories: oscillating water columns, attenuators, overtoppers, and point absorbers (Devices).
Oscillating water columns consist of an oscillating column of water that is created by some form of horizontal structure that directs waves into the column. The column of water that is created can then be used to do work such as the compression and decompression of air, which then generates energy.
An attenuator is a device that is snake-like in shape and is anchored to the bottom of the ocean at one end. The long, thin body of the attenuator is oriented in the direction of the incoming waves, resulting in undulations of the multiple sections that make up the overall generator. Each segment rises and falls with each wave, generating power through a slithering motion. One example of a full-scale commercial attenuator is the Pelamis, which consists of multiple segments that extend 150 meters (Pelamis Attenuator).
Overtoppers are generators that consist of a reservoir of water at a certain height above the water level, and forces water to run turbines that create energy as it travels from the reservoir (at higher potential energy) back to its normal height. This design is logistically challenging and would not be practical for this project at all.
The final major category of wave energy generators is the point absorber, which is a single bouy-like device that rises up and down with the waves. Although these generators center on a single point, they are still large, with many having a 50 foot diameter. They use hydraulics, magnets, pendulums, or other systems of power generation to harness energy (Devices).
Wave power, however, is not the only form of power generation for a recreational boater. Other technologies include the use of small-scale wind turbines or solar panels to power electronics. Also, unlike wave generators, which have not been explored much on a small scale, wind and solar power have already been adapted to personal use (Wind Generators vs Solar Panels). The disadvantages of these power systems, however, is that wind turbines need a minimum wind speed in order to generate any power at all, and solar panels need a certain amount of sun to produce energy.
Additional detriments of…