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Wave-riding generators promise the cheapest clean energy ever

Clean Power

SWEL Promises Cleanest, Cheapest Energy Ever — We’ll See

Energy from the ocean, without the giant wind turbines.

Sea Wave Energy Ltd. (they go by “SWEL,” natch) has spent the better part of the last decade developing a floating, wave-riding generator that the company claims will produce a whole lot of tidal energy for not a whole lot of money.

First shown to the world a few years and recently back in the news, SWEL’s floating wave energy device is called the “Waveline Magnet,” and it’s basically a long, modular chain of plastic floats  that are designed to sit on top of the water, lined up perpendicular to the shore (i.e., directly into the waves). As the waves pass below the Waveline Magnet, the floats follow the contours of the water, creating a sort-of “up and down” serpentine motion in the chains of floats that works on lever arms to drive low-cost electrical generators inside the spine units on both their upward and downward motions.

The best part? Waves are free — and the electricity it produces is nearly free, as well!

“One single Waveline Magnet will be rated at over 100 MW in energetic environments,” said the inventor of the device and SWEL’s CEO, Adam Zakheos, “… we can show how a commercial sized device using our technology will achieve a Levelized Cost of Energy (LCoE) less than 1¢€(US$0.01)/kWh, crushing today’s wave energy industry reference value of 85¢€ (US$0.84)/kWh.”

The US has enjoyed cheap energy for decades and we generally average about $0.10 per kWh. Producing energy for $0.01/kWh would be something, especially if we can do that without burning more fossil fuels. However, big promises like these require big evidence, and we’re yet to see that.

Nonetheless, as a thought experiment, consider that “topping off” a massive 210 kWh battery like the one in the new GMC Hummer EV would cost just $2.10 using that $0.01/kWh rate. Which, you know, I’ll take that. However, even if SWEL achieves it’s target, that would be the wholesale cost, not the retail cost of electricity.

You can check out the Waveline Magnet Concept Design in this video below, then let us know what you think of this particular version of “offshore energy” in the comments.

SWEL Waveline Magnet Concept Design

Source | Images: SWEL, via New Atlas; Yanko Design.

 
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I've been involved in motorsports and tuning since 1997, and have been a part of the Important Media Network since 2008. You can find me here, working on my Volvo fansite, riding a motorcycle around Chicago, or chasing my kids around Oak Park.

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