The Oceans tides, waves and currents have the potential to provide us with enough renewable energy to power billions of homes worldwide. But how? Can this be achieved in a manner that's affordable?
British inventor; Alvin Smith of Dartmouth Wave Energy Ltd believes he can, by utilizing his invention called the "Searaser".
"The "Searaser" is a wave energy converter that harnesses the power of the ocean and has the potential to provide renewable energy on demand."
- Alvin Smith
The "Searaser" works via a center piston in conjunction with two floats; the larger float sits on the oceans surface and the other is held underwater at a ﬁxed depth by an anchor chain. When the top ﬂoat bobs up and down on the swells, seawater is pumped in both directions creating water pressure. This water pressure then forces seawater through an underground pipe that leads several meters above sea-level, where it can be stored in a holding tank. From the holding tank or reservoir the seawater can be released back down through a hydro electric turbine to produce renewable electricity, before returning to the ocean.
Mr. Smith claims 1 Large scale "SEARASER 1200" could:
- Pump 1.6 cubic meters of seawater per second
- Pump 136,000 cubic meters per day
- Produce 1 MW of electricity
- Power 1720 homes
- Cost 2 cents per kWh to produce
With Great numbers like this; Why isn't the "Searaser" in full operation right now? Whats the delay?
According to this article; "Football scores a goal in mastery of wave power" It's due to a lack of government support. This is unfortunate because the "Searaser" has great potential, and among it's competitors, the "Searaser" may also be the least expensive to build.
Here's an example of the "Searaser's" Potential! The World's 1st "Seawater Pumped Storage Hydro Power Plant" in Okinawa Japan. (How Pumped Storage Hydro Electricity works)
Presently it runs on coal to power it's generators, but there's a better option; the "Searaser" could completely replace the facilities use of coal. Significantly decrease it's environmental impact, reduce cost and increase efficiency to produce up to 30 MW of electricity per day.
The image above is a concept that suggests how combining the "Searaser" and "Okinawa's Seawater Pumped Storage Power Station" could be transformed into a "Multi Purpose Seawater Power Station". It may sound too good to be true; But is it? Perhaps the real question isn't; Can we make this Happen? Perhaps it's more about; Does the Will to make this Happen Exist?
The information and data on Dartmouth Wave Energy's website regarding the "Searaser" and the "Multi Purpose Seawater Power Station" sounds feasible.
My conclusion is that "Harnessing the Power of the Ocean" is a:
- Viable, sustainable solution.
- Could power millions of homes worldwide.
- Help diversify the worlds renewable energy resources.
- Decrease our dependence on fossil fuels & nuclear energy.
- Help protect our health and environment
At the moment, our ability to utilize such a vast renewable energy resource is only limited by a lack of funding and corporate willpower. It's not due to a lack of innovation or inventions that could harness the power of the ocean. It's not due to a lack of forward thinking people. It's about those controlling the energy industry delaying progress for the sake of profit. In essence, It's about greed.
For instance; there is no other reason why countries like Japan shouldn't be utilizing the power of the ocean to generate their electricity right now! Not 30 or 50 years from now.
Inventions and concepts like those Alvin Smith presents, appear to be more than viable solutions, I believe it's a step in the right direction. With sufficient funding, government support, and corporate willpower. Inventions like the "Searaser" and "Multi Purpose Seawater Power Station's" could become a reality. Reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, nuclear energy and power millions of homes.
(Searaser images, diagrams provided by: Dartmouth Wave Energy Ltd.)