Wind and solar power are becoming increasingly attractive alternatives to fossil fuels, but renewables are a rich tapestry, and the more threads we can weave together, the better. Ocean waves could be one such thread, and Australian company Wave Swell Energy is developing a new device to harvest that energy. New Atlas spoke to Dr. Tom Denniss, the CEO of the company, to find out about the technology.
With the Paris Agreement coming into force last November, almost 200 countries around the world pledged to fight to keep global temperatures from rising more than 2° C (3.6° F) above pre-industrial levels by the end of the 21st century. It’s an ambitious and crucial goal, and exploring and exploiting renewable energy sources will play a key role in achieving it.
2016 was a boom year for solar power, and renewables as a whole overtook coal to become the world’s largest source of installed power capacity. But nature isn’t easily tamed: wind farms and solar arrays are at the mercy of the elements, so the more diverse our renewable energy mix, the more reliable the power grids of the future will be.
The endless motion of the ocean is a great resource, and we’ve seen some creative methods to try to tap into that energy. Point absorber systems use a buoy to drive an underwater hydraulic system, while Gibraltar’s wave energy station is mounted onto a jetty, where it converts the rise and fall of waves into fluid pressure.