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. 

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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.

+ Ecotricity

Via The Guardian