Ocean Wave Energy: Current Status and Future Perspectives
Excerpts from Section 2.2 Looking Forward, by Prof. Stephen Salter
The initial task is to ensure that early wave power devices survive and produce the output predicted by their designers, even if the first wave electricity is as expensive as the first from coal or wind.
Survival depends on the full understanding of the statistics of the loads induced by waves and the strength of our parts. … If possible we must try to clip the load skirt to the economic limit and narrow the standard deviation of the strength histogram.
Large systems can fail because of very small components. … we must test large numbers of quite basic components such as bearings, seals, … in parallel in the chemistry and biology of the sea to know which ones will actually work. … We should have a test raft on which parts and subassemblies can be subjected to accelerated life tests.
We must try to maximise the ratio of the swept volume of any displacer to its own volume and the idle volume of the supporting structure. … Concave shapes, like the corner at the foot of a breakwater or the focus of a shaped explosive charge, can amplify peak stresses in breaking waves so everything must be convex. Sharp edges, which we see in a great many designs of wave energy devices, waste lots of energy by shedding vortices ….
… we must overcome the instinctive preference for movements in the vertical direction. … The horizontal forces and velocities can be just as useful.
We must find ways to choose and control, instant by instant, the amplitude, phase and upper limit of the force going to the power-conversion mechanism.
We must find ways to install and remove devices more quickly and much more cheaply ….
Every new technology makes many painful mistakes. … The mistakes only become less painful if people learn from them. They will learn only if full details of every mistake are circulated throughout the industry.
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- November 6, 2009 / 16:06
- Wave energy