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Credit: Anne Theisen © Oscilla Power

Coming Attractions

Solid-state Wave Energy

Oceans remain the largest untapped source of renewable energy on earth, surging with roughly 80,000 terawatt hours of power. A single terawatt is the equivalent of 1 trillion watts and sufficient to provide electricity to 33 million U.S. homes.

Because water is nearly one thousand times denser than air, aqua turbines are technically more efficient than wind turbines. The problem with wave energy technologies is economic inefficiency. They require moving parts that can withstand the stress and corrosion of the sea. The raw energy found in the ocean can easily become wave power’s downfall.

A company in Seattle, Oscilla Power, has created a wave-energy technology that converts the kinetic energy of the ocean without external moving parts.  Compression and decompression within Oscilla’s wave energy converter create electricity.

Solid-state wave energy eliminates some of the key issues that have plagued other start-ups in the field of marine energy. It may be the breakthrough, if it can capture ocean energy affordably.

References

Background Sources

Grobart, Sam. “This Device Could Provide a Third of America’s Power.” Bloomberg. April 12, 2016.

Mofur, Linus, Jarett Goldsmith, and Fliss Jones. Ocean Energy Technology Readiness, Patents, Deployment Status, and Outlook. Abu Dhabi: International Renewable Energy Agency, 2014.

Oscilla Power. http://oscillapower.com.

“Waving Good Buy?” The Economist. November 7, 2015.

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Errata

p. 187

Correction: The kinetic energy of oceans, which surge with roughly 80,000 terawatt hours of power, is extraordinary. It is a staggering amount of energy—enough to power human needs four times over.

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Full models and technical reports coming in late 2017.

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