The beach is my favorite holiday spot and it is really special to me as I grew up spending every summer on a beach that is almost abandoned and is completely shielded from all modern life. Spending two months in the tranquil might of the ocean and on its lovely banks really allowed you to appreciate both its awesome beauty and unchallenged might. You quickly learned to respect it and not to push the line too far. Yet you could not but fall utterly in love with it. While today my life is engulfed in much hypocritical nonsense, I still love to go back and just let go of myself in its all engulfing presence.
Even a novice like me knows that the ocean has incredible amount of energy in it. It is driven by the weather and the winds. Any bloke who took a wave the wrong way even once will vouch for it. But the problem in harnessing this huge chunk of energy present in the waves is the fact that we have not yet learned to extract what we want. The energy is always there and it is only a matter of whether we know how to take it.
OreCon is the latest, with plans for a sort of giant, self-contained buoy that floats atop the water, each unit generating a megawatt and a half of energy. The company has raised $24 million, which it plans to use in building a full-scale example. One of the problems with putting mechanical equipment in the ocean is that the salt and other chemicals in sea water tend to destroy moving parts. OreCon uses a design called the Oscillating Water Column to keep most of the parts well above water level.
In an OWC, which is a well-known setup, the pressure from waves outside the device causes water to rise and fall within it, which in turn pushes air in and out through a turbine, creating energy. They tend to be fairly inefficient, though. OreCon’s innovation is using what it calls “multi-resonant chambers”. In its proprietary design, the company deploys multiple OWCs around a 40 meter platform that’s tethered to the sea floor a few miles off shore.
The first unit should be deployed somewhere off the coast of England in Cornwall, near Plymouth, where OreCon was founded six years ago. Another one is being set up off the coast of San Francisco too. This is apparently an awesome idea if it works and one has no reason to think otherwise either. The technology could help us unlock the vast amount of energy bundles that each wave carries and makes sure we do it in the greenest way possible.