Viridian Note 00210: Wave Generator

Bruce Sterling <>
Thu, 23 Nov 2000 15:08:48 -0600
Key concepts
wave power, Scotland, renewable energy, LIMPET, Ibgo Grevemeyer, wave violence, Alan Wells, Wells air turbine

Attention Conservation Notice: It's yet another new clean power gizmo.

(((Meanwhile, in The Hague, diplomats from half a million different countries obfuscate and fingerpoint as the planet stews and bubbles. "Agent Cherry Pie" and "Agent Sushi" just hit the American negotiator with a chocolate cream pie. At best, a melancholy spectacle.)))


Climate Conference Indymedia

Earth Negotiations Bulletin (ENB) @ UNFCCC COP-6

More than you want to know about the dismal postnational entities bungling our future:

(((Never mind the politics. Where's the power happening? A rather interesting development this week in Scotland. This wave-power device seem especially apt since a recent climate report states that the planet's waves are getting bigger and more violent.)))

New Scientist, 18 November 02000, page 25 "It might be good news for surfers, but it's bad news for everyone else. Waves are getting bigger, says Ibgo Grevemeyer of the University of Bremen in Germany. He and his colleagues analysed records of seismic activity from Hamburg between 1954 and 1998, looking faint background noise caused by the pounding of ocean waves. After 1978, wave heights increased significantly, they found. (Nature, vol 408 p 349) The changes correlate with more violent storms in the North Atlantic and a rise in global temperatures in the same period. 'We now have additional data that shows a profound climate change in the late seventies,' Grevemeyer says. 'It's a kind of warning for humankind.'



"World's First Wave Generated Power Station Opens

"INVERNESS, Scotland, November 21, 2000 (ENS) == The world's first commercial wave power station has been connected to the national grid in Britain. WAVEGEN and Queen's University Belfast jointly developed the LIMPET (Land Installed Marine Powered Energy Transformer) wave system with financial support from the European Union.

"The LIMPET is operating on the Island of Islay, off the West coast of Scotland, famed for its unique whisky distilleries. (((Yee-haw! Green-powered single-malts!)))

"This first site will generate 500 kW of renewable energy without greenhouse gas emissions. That capacity is sufficient for 400 local homes. (((Or one distillery, maybe.)))

"'This is a big day for us,' says managing director Allan Thomson. 'Wave power has joined the important group of commercially viable, competitive and clean forms of sustainable energy. This is the launch of a new global market.'

"LIMPET offers modular construction and simple operation, and company officials predict its applications will fill a growing need in coastal communities around the world that are trying to replace diesel generation. (...)

"The LIMPET uses an oscillating water column in an inclined concrete tube that has its opening below the water level. Wave action causes the water level in the collector to oscillate, and this variation alternately compresses and decompresses the trapped air in the column. The air flows back and forth through a pair of generating turbines which are driven in the same direction at all times, regardless of the direction of the airflow.

"The unit is designed to operate on the shoreline, or it can be incorporated within rubble mounds or caisson breakwaters to provide coastal protection schemes as well as power generation.

"Key features include low cost power, maximum local content and 60 year life with minimal maintenance. (((Hands up everybody who thinks the shoreline of Scotland is still going to be there in 60 years.)))

(...) "WAVEGEN is backed by UNOTEC Holding AG of Switzerland, AGIP UK of Italy¹s ENI Group, and the European venture capital company 3i. The company was established in 1992 by Thomson and professor Alan Wells, inventor of the Wells air turbine."

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