Over the years, scientists have come up with numerous ways to produce renewable energy, however cost has always been a huge barrier to the widespread adoption of clean tech – the economics are still in favor of fossil fuels. However UK-based alternative energy company Ecotricity believe all that is about to change – their new project, the SeaRaser, could solve two of the biggest challenges facing renewable energy by providing a steady source of energy at low-cost. Invented by Devon Energy engineer Alvin Smith, the SeaRaser harnesses the constant power of ocean swells to create electricity on demand.
As the ocean swells, it moves the SeaRaser’s two buoys up and down. They in turn pump seawater through a pipe to an onshore turbine. The system is simple, clean and cheap – and Ecotricity believes it could be the world’s least expensive way of producing electricity (even compared to fossil fuels).
Most sea-based energy-generating technologies are hampered by one very simple factor – electricity and water don’t mix, and seawater is corrosive. As a result, many of these generators have been very expensive to manufacture and maintain. The SeaRaser eliminates these problems by keeping most of the costly electrical components on-shore where they are protected from the marine environment and can be easily serviced.
The SeaRaser could also supply energy on-demand by pumping seawater into a coastal reservoir, where a hydropower turbine could produce extra energy for the grid. Ecotricity is currently looking for investments to drive the next phase of development, and they aim to have a product ready for market in 2014. Click the video below to see how it works.
Via The Guardian