Clean Power

Published on August 15th, 2013 | by Nicholas Brown


Hybrid Wind- And Wave-Powered Generator Under Development (VIDEO)

August 15th, 2013 by  

A Japanese firm named Modec has been developing and conducting small-scale testing of a new generator which utilizes both wind and wave energy.

It is an offshore turbine which was dreamed up by Takuju Nakamura that has a vertical-axis wind turbine (VAWT) on top as well as a vertical-axis wave-powered generator on the bottom end, submerged underwater. The unit is called a “floating wind and current power generation system.” One will be deployed off the southwest coast of Japan this fall for testing.

Apparently, this turbine won’t be small, as it is expected to generate enough electricity to power up to 500 houses, with a power generation capacity of 1.5 MW. 1.5 MW is average for a utility-scale wind turbine. Nakamura claimed that it could generate twice as much power as a traditional turbine of the same diameter.

Hybrid wind and tidal turbine.
Image Credit: Modec

Nakamura said that 80 to 90% of the power generated by the unit would come from the wind turbine, while the rest would be generated by the wave-powered generator. The unit will be tethered to shore using cables which will also transmit power to land energy storage units.

“We can start the operations and we will learn from that one, and in the future, the battery cost will be less. Maybe 10 years later we will be in a very good shape for the business,” he told CBS’ Seth Doane.

Interestingly, Nakamura previously worked to develop a way to produce liquified natural gas at sea. As was the case for many others, the Fukushima disaster in Japan shook him and made him realize that Japan’s energy infrastructure was not adequately prepared for such seismic events.

He said: “After the earthquake, it was a very big shock for the people like us in Japan.” Modec allowed him to transition to the field of developing alternative sources of energy. Nakamura believes that, as the gas industry did, people are going to look to the sea for renewable power generation.

“We want to, you know, win the race,” he explained. “That means we have to start now.”

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About the Author

writes on CleanTechnica, Gas2, Kleef&Co, and Green Building Elements. He has a keen interest in physics-intensive topics such as electricity generation, refrigeration and air conditioning technology, energy storage, and geography. His website is:

  • Wayne Williamson

    I hope they build in the ability for it to withstand a 10 meter wave…

  • The water portion is more of a current generator, and not really a wave power generator, I think?

    And, I wonder about the lower height of the vertical axis wind turbine being less useful than a taller horizontal axis turbine.

    Direct transmission of the energy to the shore through a cable makes total sense to me – what is the reporter blithering on about onboard storage for? You would have to tow it into shore to “offload” the energy – what good is that?


    • Bob_Wallace

      Some people so love the idea of a vertical turbine.

      Perhaps one day someone will create one that produces as much electricity/$ as a horizontal.

      • Vertical doesn’t have to change direction, but I think they need a “bump” to get them started, though. A vertical turbine has a lower Cg but height = efficiency.

        • Bob_Wallace

          Height is were the good wind is. The difference between 50m and 80m off the ground is major. Some turbines are now going up 100m off the ground.

          I doubt it takes much energy to rotate a horizontal to face the wind. Modern turbines are rotated by internal motors and align themselves to the wind before it arrives.

      • mds

        Large horizontal turbines are much better for birds than the small ones. They can see the blades more easily. Are horizontal turbines better or worse in this respect?

    • mds

      Energy storage on-site is being discussed/developed. Here is one example: – May 2013
      “Energy Storage On The Bottom Of The Ocean — New Pumped Hydroelectric Power Storage Design”
      This could make the energy delivered to the shore via power cable more dispatchable …if cost effective enough.

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