Environment

Harness the Waves! Scotland Launches Giant Cylinder to Nab Sea Power

DiscoblogBy Brett IsraelOct 5, 2009 8:37 PM

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A giant cylinder will splash into the water off the coast of Scotland next Spring, all in the hopes of harnessing the energy of waves and converting it to electricity. Engineers are still tweaking the marine power converter, according to Reuters:

Dwarfed by 180 meters of tubing, scores of engineers clamber over the device, which is designed to dip and ride the swelling sea with each move being converted into power to be channeled through subsea cables.

The sea snake, as it's called, is being developed for the German power company E. ON and represents a serious investment in marine power, which is considerably more costly than offshore wind power. A push by regulatory agencies to slash emissions has companies taking a closer look at marine power these days—and apparently these so-called snakes have the potential to capture a decent share of the energy market:

The World Energy Council has estimated the market potential for wave energy at more than 2,000 terawatt hours a year—or about 10 percent of world electricity consumption—representing capital expenditure of more than 500 billion pounds ($790 billion).

E. On is hoping the current project in Scotland will fare better than their fist foray into marine power—a commercial wave project in Portugal that flopped after one of the partners ran out of cash. Related Content: Discoblog: Are Wind Turbines Killing Innocent Goats? Discoblog: Where’s the Wind? Researchers Say Wind in the U.S. Disappearing Discoblog: “Electric Fart Machine” Could Lead to Greater Fuel Storage Efficiency

Image: flickr / Wonderlane

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