News / Science & Technology

Harnessing Ocean Wave Power Provides Cheap Electricity

Harnessing the Power of Ocean Wavesi
X
March 14, 2014 1:32 PM
An often overlooked renewable energy resource is the power of ocean waves. Scientists in California say harnessing energy from the regular movement of large amounts of water could provide cheap electricity and drinking water for coastal communities. VOA’s George Putic reports.
George Putic
An often overlooked renewable energy resource is the power of ocean waves.  Scientists in California say harnessing energy from the regular movement of large amounts of water could provide cheap electricity and drinking water for coastal communities.

The relentless line of waves breaking along a coastline represents a steady stream of energy. The problem is that the water in waves actually goes up and down, a motion which is hard to convert into a force pushing only one way, like a flowing river or a blowing wind.

Scientists at the University of California Berkeley designed an underwater device which they say not only solves this problem but has a dual application.

“Our device has the advantage that we do not directly convert into electricity. We can decide ourselves if we want to produce fresh water or electricity,” Lehmann said.

Their carpet-like mechanism, that rises and falls with waves, creates hydraulic pressure, pumping seawater towards the shore.

The pressurized water can be used to run turbines, generating electricity.  Or it can be pushed through special membranes that extract the salt to create fresh water.

Lehmann said larger versions of the wave carpet could power small coastal communities. “So in general the available resource of wave energy is in the order of 15 percent of the global energy demand, which is a lot.”

Mechanical engineer Reza Alam said to avoid possible impact on coastal ecosystems, the wave carpet can be deployed in so-called “dead zones” where there is not enough oxygen for marine life to thrive.

“Placing a carpet on the seabed in those locations is definitely absolutely safe to the environment,” he explained.

Alam said only one-square meter of the wave carpet could supply enough power for two typical American homes, which on a larger scale means that the ocean could cheaply power up entire coastal towns.

You May Like

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Maeda Atsukon from: AKB, TKO
March 14, 2014 9:08 PM
Underwater carpet ! It's a good idea.
There are so many ideas to use ocean wave energy for producing electricity, but almost all of them is research basis and has not been used to produce our electricity.

Ocean development is very difficult. We need to solve construction problems and fishermen will complain about negative effect in order to get money from government.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More