A snake-like rubber tube floating in the ocean could prove that wave energy conversion is an economically viable solution to meet our power needs. At least that’s what the creators of the Anaconda device are hoping. Designed in the UK by Francis Farley and Rod Rainey, the Anaconda is a very simple giant rubber tube that generates energy by simply bobbing up and down in the water. We’ll bite our tongues and hold the inevitable dirty jokes on this one (but do check out the video below the fold).
Despite being the unfortunate namesake of one of the most unbelievable action movies of all times, the Anaconda has convinced us of its plausibility. The device is a 200 meter long and 7 meter diameter plastic tube that is completely closed at both ends and filled with water. It is then anchored to the ocean floor and sits just a little bit below the sea’s surface.
The device is remarkably simple as there are few moving parts. In principle, the Anaconda could just bob up and down on the currents forever. Electricity is generated via the up-and-down motion of the waves. The waves will hit one end of the tube, thus creating a bulge which is pushed from one end to the other. The bulge becomes bigger and bigger as it runs down the tube until it hits the generator, where the water turns a turbine, and generates electricity.
The brainchild of Francis Farley and Rod Rainey, the Anaconda is being developed by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council in collaboration with Checkmate Seaenergy. If proven successful, those involved hope to be able to deploy a significant number of these along the British coast. Each tube is expected to generate around 1MW.