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Ocean Energy Tech To Be Tested Off Australian Coast

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the wave-of-the-future dept.

Australia 103

cylonlover writes "The researchers at Australia's BioPower Systems evidently looked at kelp, and thought, 'what if we could use that swaying action to generate power?' The result was their envisioned bioWAVE system: 'At the base of each bioWAVE system would be a triangular foundation, keeping it anchored to the sea floor. Extending up from the middle of that foundation would be a central column, topped with multiple blades — these would actually be more like a combination of the kelp's blades and floats, as they would be cylindrical, buoyant structures that just reach to the surface. The column would join the foundation via a hinged pivot, allowing it to bend or swivel in any direction. Wave action (both at the surface and below) would catch the blades and push them back and forth, in turn causing the column to move back and forth relative to the foundation. This movement would pressurize fluid within an integrated hydraulic power conversion module, known as an O-Drive. The movement of that fluid would spin a generator, converting the kinetic energy of the waves into electricity, which would then be delivered to shore via subsea cables.'"

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hi (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38287738)

hi

How will they deal with the temporal effects? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38287740)

Didn't anyone else see Southland Tales [imdb.com] ? I don't think we can take this risk too lightly.

Re:How will they deal with the temporal effects? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38288068)

Look, man. I don't know about you or what you do to deal with life. But personally, I cope with all of my problems by blaming them on the niggers. They are my fabricated scapegoat. Everything I don't like is their fault even if they had nothing to do with it. It is most comforting. It makes me feel alright. If I don't feel alright, well, that's just those fucking niggers screwing everything up again.

Re:How will they deal with the temporal effects? (5, Insightful)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 2 years ago | (#38288552)

You see it is THIS, this right here, that is the cancer ruining Slashdot.

Once upon a time we had really good racist trolls, they were so subtle you wouldn't even catch the troll until the second paragraph. Like a good shit eater troll they would string you along, making you think it was a completely different post then WHAM, right in the balls.

Our OS fanbois brought true entertainment value to this site, like how Twitter could take a story about shoes and twist it into a truly Machiavellian tale of power and betrayal that always led to a secret bunker in Redmond where Gates and the Illuminati planned the destruction of everything with GNU in it. Our shills so damned good that they could make you root for Union Carbide and even those against them believed they were real.

Now like a TV series that has stay on long past the writers ability to think up new stories here lies the formerly great Slashdot. Once a great land where geeks fought epic battles about shit the common man couldn't even spell and where trolls pushed the limits simply to prove that they were the greatest in their fields. Now, sadly, it lies barren, where the best trolls can do is say the word nigger like a 3 year old saying dookie, the fanbois only call each other shill all day, and the geeks and their epic battles? The battlefield lies empty, their battles but fading echoes of a once great past. Truly a sad day my friends, truly a sad day.

Re:How will they deal with the temporal effects? (2)

Spazntwich (208070) | more than 2 years ago | (#38289838)

I try to stay positive and look at it this way: Maybe the slashdot audience has gained a bit of perspective as it has aged.

What once mattered has been recognized as trivial.

Re:How will they deal with the temporal effects? (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 2 years ago | (#38298704)

Sadly you are wrong, look at the AC below me, does he come up with something witty? maybe a good flame? nope its "Shut up troll" which actually points out EXACTLY what I was talking about, even our trolls are so fucking lazy now they just phone it in!

Hell I had one follow me around for a solid month last month, now with all the effort it took to scan every single article to find me SURELY he must have put some effort into his responses? Surely he must have really tore into me if he hated me enough to go to ALL THAT EFFORT? Nope all he wrote in every. single. post. was "Die you fat fucker". that's it, not even any variation, just that simple four word sentence that a real Slashdot troll would have taken as an insult to trolling. hell he didn't even try to hurt my feelings, he might as well have just typed 'dookie" and been done with it!.

That's just sad, that's what it is. I don't know if its OCD or video games or TV or chemicals in the food but frankly even douchebags have gotten so damned lazy i expect protests to have signs that read "Fill in insulting phrase' and leave it at that. Its a damned shame, no heart or soul, just phoning it in.

Re:How will they deal with the temporal effects? (1)

morgauxo (974071) | more than 2 years ago | (#38290652)

Well.. Apple used it's Turkish delight, lured away 1/2 to 3/4 of the geeks and turned them into hipster zombies. Then Ubuntu cleaved off another 2/3 of our population turning them into Apple hipster zombie wannabies. Finally the remaining Geek population had nothing left to fight about when the emacs fanbois started getting laid and decided that was more important leaving the remaining vi faithful lonely in their mother's basements with nothing good to do. Didn't you wonder where lulzsec came from?

Re:How will they deal with the temporal effects? (1)

justsayin (2246634) | more than 2 years ago | (#38290816)

Lower your standards and you will have a much happier existence.

Re:How will they deal with the temporal effects? (1)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 2 years ago | (#38291624)

Well, the filtering system has removed the ability of a lot of clever trolls (as well as the ability for Slashdot users to be more creative). When you take away a toy, people either go higher or lower brow. Most have elected to go lower brow, although the higher brow trolls have been amusing to say the least (namely, Dr. Bob and the pastor dude, who I suspect are the same guy).

Re:How will they deal with the temporal effects? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38293438)

You see it is THIS, this right here, that is the cancer ruining Slashdot.

Once upon a time we had really good racist trolls, they were so subtle you wouldn't even catch the troll until the second paragraph. Like a good shit eater troll they would string you along, making you think it was a completely different post then WHAM, right in the balls.

Our OS fanbois brought true entertainment value to this site, like how Twitter could take a story about shoes and twist it into a truly Machiavellian tale of power and betrayal that always led to a secret bunker in Redmond where Gates and the Illuminati planned the destruction of everything with GNU in it. Our shills so damned good that they could make you root for Union Carbide and even those against them believed they were real.

Now like a TV series that has stay on long past the writers ability to think up new stories here lies the formerly great Slashdot. Once a great land where geeks fought epic battles about shit the common man couldn't even spell and where trolls pushed the limits simply to prove that they were the greatest in their fields. Now, sadly, it lies barren, where the best trolls can do is say the word nigger like a 3 year old saying dookie, the fanbois only call each other shill all day, and the geeks and their epic battles? The battlefield lies empty, their battles but fading echoes of a once great past. Truly a sad day my friends, truly a sad day.

Shut up troll

Re:How will they deal with the temporal effects? (1)

mcavic (2007672) | more than 2 years ago | (#38292058)

No I haven't, and I wouldn't. A 2006 movie where the "futuristic landscape" is set in 2008? Come on.

Same as it ever was (1)

Scareduck (177470) | more than 2 years ago | (#38287766)

Diffuseness and environmental considerations will keep this from being a significant source of energy. Bank on it.

Re:Same as it ever was (2)

msobkow (48369) | more than 2 years ago | (#38287848)

I think the lack of oceans might be more of an issue here in Saskatchewan, but I like the concept and hope it works for them as well as planned.

Re:Same as it ever was (5, Interesting)

UnknownSoldier (67820) | more than 2 years ago | (#38287884)

That's what geothermal energy is for.

Ideally, you would combine gravity + oceans + geothermal:
* Siphon water off the ocean
* It falls down a long tunnel, turning a fan
* It heats up, goes up another shaft turning fan #2
* Redirect the vapor back into shaft 1

With wave & geothermal, we [would] all the energy we need.

Re:Same as it ever was (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38288348)

what you gain from pumping it down you lose from pumping it back up. This plan is just geothermal, but now you've put seawater in the pipes. Lame.

Re:Same as it ever was (3, Insightful)

dbIII (701233) | more than 2 years ago | (#38289300)

I like the idea of geothermal but in most locations that involves very deep expensive holes and (ssh, don't tell anybody) lots of fracking. Getting a large temperature difference currently means fairly awkward locations.
It's like hydro - with big mountains and lots of snow feeding big lakes it makes a lot of sense, and with geothermal it's only easy if there is a volcano not far away bringing all that heat to where you can get to it. High voltage DC means you can get that power to where it is needed but anything other than a small installation just under an existing power line is going to cost. It's the same thing that effectively killed all expansion of civilian nuclear decades ago - you need something very big and capital intensive to get any sort of decent generating capacity and nobody is putting up the money when they can speculate with it instead.

Re:Same as it ever was (1)

bigrockpeltr (1752472) | more than 2 years ago | (#38294614)

a Secure Shell is good for privacy but i'm sure molten rock would brute force any protection it offers

Re:Same as it ever was (1)

Tomato42 (2416694) | more than 2 years ago | (#38293526)

Wave energy isn't even 1TW, geothermal is about 44TW while we already use 15TW, at 20% efficiency of power generation it's not enough for our current needs let alone future ones...

Renewables are a pipe dream and will remain so for foreseeable future.

Re:Same as it ever was (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38287892)

I think the lack of oceans might be more of an issue here in Saskatchewan, but I like the concept and hope it works for them as well as planned.

What people fail to remember is the majority of people live along the coast and that's true of most of the world. It's very true of the US and even in Canada the majority live in the provinces nearest the ocean or at least major water sources. Wave power and off shore wind power have the potential of providing the bulk of the power world wide. Another thing people forget is wave power is mostly caused by the Moon so it's harnessing yet another energy source instead of focusing on solar.

Re:Same as it ever was (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38288030)

I think tides are caused by the moon...waves are caused by wind

Wave energy's power density (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38296470)

Let's crunch some numbers.

The one-megawatt installation will use four devices which operate in 40-45 meters of water -- so, 250 kW / device. From the looks of the pictures, these devices are about as wide as they are tall. Let's allow some room between adjacent units. Space them 150 meters apart, in a hexagonal pattern. Allow 75 meters of clearance at the edges of the field.

A field of 37 devices spaced as I describe covers 1.09 square kilometers. They should generate 9.25 MW. That works out to 8.5 MW / km^2, or 8.5 W/m^2. By comparison, some current figures for the power density of wind energy and and solar photovoltaic installations are 1.2 W/m^2, and 6.7 W/m^2, respectively.

I believe that wave energy is less intermittent than wind or solar as well.

The fact that this power-generating approach uses an enclosed turbine means that there is little potential for the system to make accidental sushi.

Looks pretty decent to me.

Blades? (5, Funny)

cyachallenge (2521604) | more than 2 years ago | (#38287768)

In other news a new alternative energy project provides free fish blending service for Austrailian sharks.

Re:Blades? (3, Informative)

skids (119237) | more than 2 years ago | (#38287802)

Not blades. RTFA. Or even, just LTFP (look at the fine picture.)

Have to say my favorite among the wave/tidal is the Pelamis though. Only needs a small mooring and easily towed around from park to park to deal with seasonal demands.

Re:Blades? (1)

cyachallenge (2521604) | more than 2 years ago | (#38287826)

WTHIJAJCOD (What the hell it's just a joke chill out dude). Informative, though.

Fish on tap (5, Interesting)

dbIII (701233) | more than 2 years ago | (#38288204)

I did a bit of work at a pump storage mini-hydro plant once (only two little 250MW generators) which is used to supply power at peak times so operates at about the same time each day. Lined up at the netting designed to keep idiots from driving their skiboats up to the outlets were a lot of very large turtles and a cormorant on nearly every float - just waiting. Each day a lot of very confused fish get dumped at that spot.
The turbines in that case wouldn't mince the fish - the blades are fairly blunt, run at relatively low revolutions and are so far apart that I entered the tunnel behind a turbine by climbing through a gap between two blades. Of course it was all shut down for the week with the pipework exiting the turbine removed.

Funny that people assume this isn't harmful. (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38287772)

Funny that people assume this isn't harmful because studies have shown that low frequency sounds from turbines, generators, and the like are damaging to local ecology.

Still, nothing is going to be 100% safe. I just can't stand "greenie" morons who think there won't be problems. They may be different problems but they're still problems.

Re:Funny that people assume this isn't harmful. (5, Insightful)

skids (119237) | more than 2 years ago | (#38287820)

You know, I think it would be fair to say that until motorboats are banned these shouldn't be either.

Re:Funny that people assume this isn't harmful. (1)

DrInequality (521068) | more than 2 years ago | (#38288160)

Until/unless you drive your motorboat around 24x7 your comparison sucks.

Re:Funny that people assume this isn't harmful. (2)

thegarbz (1787294) | more than 2 years ago | (#38289112)

Erm you do know that shipping lanes don't work a 9-5 workday right?

Re:Funny that people assume this isn't harmful. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38288168)

Funny that people assume this isn't harmful because studies have shown that low frequency sounds from turbines, generators, and the like are damaging to local ecology.

I can hear things and look out the window now and see things that are allowing me to type this. Sacrifices. What makes you think the aquatic beneficiaries won't think it's also worth it...?

Re:Funny that people assume this isn't harmful. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38288378)

care to show these studies? other than from the land of make believe?

Re:Funny that people assume this isn't harmful. (1)

elsurexiste (1758620) | more than 2 years ago | (#38290836)

I heard that in Valdes Peninsula, Argentina, there was once a project to build not one but two plants, one on each side of the isthmus. Would've been a huge source of power... but, as you said, it would have driven out the fauna, especially the whales (the noise would have been unbearable for them). So, in the end, the government decided it wasn't such a good idea after all..

this story proves what I've suspected (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38287784)

THIS is the year of commercial tidal power.

Re:this story proves what I've suspected (1)

skids (119237) | more than 2 years ago | (#38287842)

No not quite yet. This industry is playing major catchup due to having been funded even less than solar or wind for the last few decades. There's a lot still to learn (and plenty of progress being made) about making these units durable and low-maintenance.

Re:this story proves what I've suspected (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38288072)

I think OP was being sarcastic.

Location of the bioWAVE system (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38287866)

FTA, for those who care:

The $5 million grant will go towards an AUD$14 million (US$14,365,000) four-year pilot demonstration unit, to be installed at a grid-connected site near Port Fairy, Victoria.

This is great! (3, Funny)

NEDHead (1651195) | more than 2 years ago | (#38287874)

Will it fit in my car?

Re:This is great! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38288162)

I doesn't have to! We have these amazing things called batteries now.

Re:This is great! (1)

Tomato42 (2416694) | more than 2 years ago | (#38293552)

Call me when they don't stop working after 5 years of cautious usage and don't double weight of the car.

Re:This is great! (1)

Rennt (582550) | more than 2 years ago | (#38288640)

If you have an ocean in your car then I don't imagine fitting a few of these bad boys will be a problem. Otherwise the closest you'll get is just using the power from them in your plug-in electric.

Re:This is great! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38296614)

If you have an ocean in your car then I don't imagine fitting a few of these bad boys will be a problem. Otherwise the closest you'll get is just using the power from them in your plug-in electric.

I may not be able to fit them in my car, but I can certainly fit them in my wardrobe. More fun than solar!

As somebody who holidays nearby (2)

ynotds (318243) | more than 2 years ago | (#38287882)

The swells and waves have got noticeably stronger over my 50 years holidaying on the Otway coast, so I would very much welcome anything that could take any energy out of them and make it more useful elsewhere.

Then I might get back to diving more than once or twice per summer, down from better than every second day in years gone by.

Re:As somebody who holidays nearby (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38288078)

Any chance the 'noticeably stronger' swells and waves is more of a change relative to your strength? If you're 50 years older now than you were then chances are your strength/stamina have decreased.

Re:As somebody who holidays nearby (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38288260)

If you're 50 years older now than you were then chances are your strength/stamina have decreased.

Over the period of 50 years the coastline along beach areas alters noticeably. More likely the effect is due to ordinary changes in offshore sandbar configuration.

Re:As somebody who holidays nearby (1)

DrInequality (521068) | more than 2 years ago | (#38288170)

Wish I had a dollar for every piece of anecdotal evidence!

Re:As somebody who holidays nearby (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38288212)

Wish I had a dollar for every piece of anecdotal evidence!

Why don't people realise that all anecdotal evidence is false? In fact everything you have ever experienced is a simply a delusion. Sheeesh.

Re:As somebody who holidays nearby (1)

12WTF$ (979066) | more than 2 years ago | (#38289062)

Sorry, you are well over-estimating the value of anecdotal evidence.
The going rate is fifty anecdotal evidences to the dollar.

My 2c worth ;-)

Re:As somebody who holidays nearby (2)

thegarbz (1787294) | more than 2 years ago | (#38289122)

Wish I had a dollar for every piece of anecdotal evidence!

Do a scientific study and you will.

Re:As somebody who holidays nearby (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38289662)

That won't work... In order to get any real money out of that you'd have a lot of data, and then it isn't anecdotal anymore...

Well (3, Insightful)

ShooterNeo (555040) | more than 2 years ago | (#38287908)

Why didn't we do this before? I see nothing in this article describing anything in the technology that wasn't technically possible 20 or 40 years ago. There's not even sophisticated CFD behind the design : it appears to just be a float on the end of a rod.

That isn't good for it's future prospects, then : if the technology has not advanced, then likely this machine will face the difficulties that they had last time they tried this.

I'm imagining all kinds of horrible sea life buildup and corrosion and damage in storms causing it to be uneconomical. Each unit has a whole generator, transformer, cables, everything that it needs to support.

Re:Well (4, Interesting)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#38287930)

They could just be suckers(or playing the investors for suckers); but it could also be that, while most of the rough geometry-level stuff has been obvious for some time, advances in materials will make the thing work better in practice...

Moving parts + marine environment = endless well of maintenance and sorrow. It wouldn't too much surprise me if a dash of some of the cooler fluorocarbon polymers and elastomers could add years to the service life of something that would otherwise be spending more time in the shop than in the chop...

Re:Well (2)

OneSmartFellow (716217) | more than 2 years ago | (#38288936)

Moving parts + marine environment = endless well of maintenance and sorrow. My thoughts exactly. It seems these guys haven't spent enough time at sea maintaining mechanical equipment. Anything left in an ocean environment clean enough for it to continue working will be covered with sea critters within months. I don't think there are any materials that have yet proved impervious to natures desire to host life.

Re:Well (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#38293876)

Tributyltin and some of its organometallic friends have taken a fairly good stab at the problem, probably too good, and even they need to be re-applied from time to time...

Re:Well (3, Insightful)

thegarbz (1787294) | more than 2 years ago | (#38289140)

advances in materials will make the thing work better in practice...

You're making an assumption that the people know what they are doing rather than just putting a piece of kit together out of any metal they can find.

We have a desalination plant in Australia which rusted out before it even finished construction [abc.net.au] . I kid you not, someone built something that goes into the ocean with the wrong metallurgy.

Re:Well (1)

justsayin (2246634) | more than 2 years ago | (#38290942)

Yeah, people who wonder why we don't use wave power probably don't own boats. I love time on the water and have a nice little boat but when compared to any land based machine boats are pretty much maintenance nightmares.

Re:Well (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38288044)

The technology has probably advanced in subtle ways that are not sudden jumps. Prices of components/materials may have gone down without any significant change in the components/materials themselves. Small improvements in materials, generators, transmission, and modeling that allows for optimal design, could all render a previously uneconomical project economical. Or a series of small improvements in the design, etc.

Re:Well (2)

foniksonik (573572) | more than 2 years ago | (#38288074)

There was no need or no inspiration or no funding? Any of these could easily keep an idea just an idea even if the tech and know how are available.

That said you make good points regarding maintenance. However, there have been significant advances in materials to prevent sea life agglomeration. Additionally there are similar systems in use as reference so these are either non-issues or are accounted for in the ROI.

Re:Well (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38288264)

I concur. Having worked on a project that involved installing equipment out in the ocean, I can tell you that it's nowhere near as simple as building a device & dropping it in the water. The engineers have to take into account all the factors you've mentioned, plus there's the cost of maintenance: driving the ships out there, pulling up devices for repair, etc. The ocean is a very harsh environment.

Re:Well (4, Interesting)

WaffleMonster (969671) | more than 2 years ago | (#38288324)

I don't know, if deep enough underwater storms won't really effect it.

Since its producing energy anyway you could easily run some current to provide active corrosion resistance.

Anti fouling coatings are avaliable although this will certainly remain a maintenance item.

Seems like a simple enough design that it might work... I think at the end of the day feasibility will be driven more by economies of scale and steady build up of dead labor engineering costs out of the system.

Re:Well (4, Interesting)

Hadlock (143607) | more than 2 years ago | (#38288344)

Agreed, the mechanical problem is something that could have resolved in the 1880s. It's the fact that you're immersing these in a solution that is 3.5% salt, and then moving them through a 45 degree arc every 10-15 seconds. Corrosion is going to be a huge problem, and those hydraulic cylinders are going to wear out pretty quickly. Material science can probably fix that, but to make cheap, green power you need to build things not made from unobtanium.
 
Perhaps if the generator were integrated better in to the system, this would look more likely, but the modular design has be skeptical.

Re:Well (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38297734)

One word: ceramic. Won't corrode, not irresistably tasty to fish, and will withstand 10+ years of regular wear and tear.

So long as they can keep the metal parts well away from the seawater, they'll be sweet.

Re:Well (1)

budgenator (254554) | more than 2 years ago | (#38290684)

We do this all of the time I remember in the North Sea of Scotland years ago a trial for wave power generation using articulated worm-like floats to generate the power years ago, there is a company in Texas using a bobber type setup to generate the power to be used for water desalination, and now this; they all used hydraulic rams and hydraulic motors turning generators. These companies come and go all the time, volatility in power prices kill some, drying up of investors kill others, many run into problems scaling up from prototypes to production, NIMBYs and Eviro-Nazis kill many; the companies go bankrupt, the IP gets sold off and somebody else tries until someday somebody hits the sweet-spot and succeeds.

Or....... (1)

axlr8or (889713) | more than 2 years ago | (#38287946)

Someone could help me with my gravity mill and have free power for the mechanical limits of the machine itself.

Re:Or....... (1)

axlr8or (889713) | more than 2 years ago | (#38287954)

I forgot to mention, it doesn't violate the 1st

Re:Or....... (1)

ShooterNeo (555040) | more than 2 years ago | (#38288364)

Oh really...

To not violate thermodynamics you need a gradient that is changing. Earth produces a gradient that is almost static.

Second, even if you found a source of free energy (free as in energy available to do work, not free as in dollars) from gravity, there's the little problem that as a force it is billions of times weaker than E&M, which technically is the force that a mechanical generator uses.

Re:Or....... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38288652)

"gravity, there's the little problem that as a force it is billions of times weaker than E&M"

Tell that to a black hole.

Why not just use piezo? (1)

Khyber (864651) | more than 2 years ago | (#38287952)

We already had this idea for air using piezo-electric cylinders. Can't we just sink these into tidal areas and generate power the same way, without all the loss of conversion?

coolio! (1)

JDBurnZ (1867012) | more than 2 years ago | (#38287982)

This is great! I absolutely love alternative renewable energy sources to offset our dependence on fossil fuels! Keep up the good work Ausies, I can't wait to see what you crazy bastards come up with next!

Re:coolio! (4, Funny)

DeathElk (883654) | more than 2 years ago | (#38288172)

No, worries mate. I'll fill you in early - it's a kangaroo powered beer and sausage machine. Still workin' on the wombat powered sauce dispenser though. Little bugger keeps drinkin' the sauce and keelin' over.

Re:coolio! (1)

Wombat2k (693873) | more than 2 years ago | (#38289486)

Shorry about that. it`s the chilli. Gives me an endorphin rush

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I see no way to report it :-o

Re:Irregular pattern design stripe sweater with re (0)

budgenator (254554) | more than 2 years ago | (#38290786)

Browse at -1 to keep an eye out for abuses. Mail the admin [mailto] (help(ata)slashdot.org) URLs showing abuse (include the cid link please!).

Re:Irregular pattern design stripe sweater with re (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38289880)

Irregular Pattern Design sounded like a cool engineering concept. Too bad.

Not the only swinging float wave system (4, Interesting)

ZombieEngineer (738752) | more than 2 years ago | (#38288082)

Another system just off the coast of Fremantle, Australia (west coast of Australia) http://www.carnegiewave.com/index.php?url=/ceto/ceto-overview [carnegiewave.com] Does not produce electricity directly but very high pressure sea water which can then be used directly in a desalination plant and the waste run through a hydraulic turbine to generate mechanical / electrical energy. Given that wave energy is nearly constant around the clock, generating fresh water rather than electricity does have its advantages, doubly so in a very dry part of the world. ZombieEngineer

Re:Not the only swinging float wave system (1)

kanto (1851816) | more than 2 years ago | (#38289640)

This is a project I've heard about a while ago, the WaveRoller [aw-energy.com] , intended (as I'd imagine most of these are?) to be placed on shore lines to take advantage of the "surge phenomenon" (basically how the waves change into more of a circular motion as the depth decreases thus creating spots with continuous back and forth motion, explained in the link). On their site there is a mention in a blog that they should be just about finished assembling their first 3x100 kW power plant [aw-energy.com] to be deployed at Peniche, Portugal.

How does it work? (0)

ksemlerK (610016) | more than 2 years ago | (#38288102)

"Tide goes in, tide goes out? How does it work? Nobody knows."
--Bill O'Riely

Hardly a new idea (1)

onyxruby (118189) | more than 2 years ago | (#38288132)

Variations of harvesting ocean energy go back to at least the 1800's. All of them start with free energy, we'll use the tides or waves or currents. I'm sure with some googling you could find variations going back even before then.

All of them end with the lesson that sailors learned thousands of years ago. The sea is a harsh mistress. To be put more bluntly, every single one of these ends with a variation of 'maintenance costs exceeded projections and we're going to hold off on future deployment until the technology improves'.

At some point you think mankind would re-learn that nature is still perfectly capable of issuing things that are beyond our ability exploit and leave well enough alone.

Love the idea, as a matter of principal I like renewable energy forms. But to get real it's impractical and it might as well be the patent offices #2 automatic refusal right behind perpetual motion machines.

Some of those old ideas worked (3, Informative)

dbIII (701233) | more than 2 years ago | (#38288238)

To be put more bluntly, every single one of these ends with a variation of 'maintenance costs exceeded projections and we're going to hold off on future deployment until the technology improves'.

To put it more bluntly, you are not aware to the tidal power station that's been running at Le Havre since the 1950s (for example), so I think your blanket generalistion says more about yourself than any of the technologies in question.

Re:Some of those old ideas worked (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38288386)

the le havre station was a test and was a complete failure with france going to nuclear power. its a lie to say that its been running since the 50s.

Re:Some of those old ideas worked (1)

onyxruby (118189) | more than 2 years ago | (#38290556)

Be be even more blunt, your example is wrong [ft.com] . They have not been producing tidal power there since the 1950's. My point stands, it is very doable to make a tidal power station, it's not very doable to keep a tidal power station.

Re:Hardly a new idea (3, Insightful)

RazorSharp (1418697) | more than 2 years ago | (#38288314)

Isn't the whole point of science to make the impossible possible?

The Wright Brothers with your attitude: 'It's never been done before, even if in theory it could work. It's dangerous and costly, so we better stick with bicycles.'

I find it hard to believe that harvesting oceanic energy efficiently is impossible just because there are many challenges associated with it and it has yet to be done successfully. It'll never happen if no one tries.

Re:Hardly a new idea (1)

Hadlock (143607) | more than 2 years ago | (#38288404)

I don't doubt it's possible. You could build one of these in your back yard with some 50 gallon drums, 100 lbs of steel and hydraulic parts off the shelf. The problem is scale and corrosion. The only two things that move underwater and doesn't need yearly replacement are propellers and fish. Even when they drill for oil, they keep the moving bits above water, even 50 years later. Immersing moving bits of metal in the water, particularly sea water is something humanity hasn't been able to solve without throwing lots of money at the materials bill for 100 years.

Re:Hardly a new idea (1)

thegarbz (1787294) | more than 2 years ago | (#38289274)

particularly sea water is something humanity hasn't been able to solve without throwing lots of money at the materials bill for 100 years.

Well not every problem is solved by a bit of stainless you found lying in your backyard. There's very few process plants in the world that don't have some kind of exotic metallurgy. The knowledge is there. If oil refineries can pump hydroflouric acid around, cope with acidic oils at high temperatures, and in some cases of refineries I've been to; use sea water as cooling water throughout the entire refinery I think it'll be trivial to cope with these things subjected to salt water at a comparatively non-corrosive temperature.

Hell we have desalination plants that have been in operation for many years. Many of them use various grades of stainless with great success. But if you want something corrosion proof then nickel based alloys are quite immune to attack by seawater at a wide variety of temperatures. You say the problem is "throwing lots of money at the materials bill". But quite often even the materials bill for plants using exotic materials like Inconel or Hastelloy are dwarfed by the installation and maintenance costs. I'd bet that paying 5 times more for the material will pay itself off the first time someone does NOT need to dive down to remove one of these things.

The real innovation (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38288148)

The researchers at Australia's BioPower Systems evidently looked at a Parliament who had sold out to the Greens and thought, 'what if we could use that overreaction to generate money?' It must be nice to have tens if not hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars to waste on this and similar inefficient, impractical, uneconomical and unviable forms of 'green' energy.

Why this technology is a non-starter (3, Interesting)

ShooterNeo (555040) | more than 2 years ago | (#38288396)

There's a very, very simple reason why this tech isn't going anywhere. It has nothing to do with whether or not the maintainence problems are solvable at some cost.

All wave energy is is water pushed by wind. Thus, you are capturing energy that was originally offshore winds. For any given number of dollars, you could try to tap this energy source by :

      Placing your device in the air, where all the internal workings are available for inspection and you can choose a location with relatively rare adverse weather events (like the interior of a country away from the coast)

    Placing your device under water, with all the maintenance costs that involves and the need for scuba gear and high $$$ divers to even work on it.

Unless we somehow run out of good spots to put windmills on land, it will always make more sense to spend the next marginal dollar on another windmill (or solar panel, when the price per panel finally gets cheap enough)

It's possible in theory that some day wave generators might be cheap enough to be worth using instead of burning natural gas or coal. But at that point, wind and/or solar will by definition be even cheaper THAN THAT because the same materials science that made the wave generators work has made the solar/wind even cheaper!

Re:Why this technology is a non-starter (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38288498)

Huh, and here I thought lunar gravity and climate played a part in water movement...

Re:Why this technology is a non-starter (1)

ShooterNeo (555040) | more than 2 years ago | (#38288554)

That's tides, not waves.

Re:Why this technology is a non-starter (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38288906)

Always love when the random slashdot poster shoots down the new idea because of some simple high school science that the dopey scientist folk somehow overlooked.

Yes, waves are generated by wind. But often those winds are too far offshore to be captured by just 'building another windmill'.

This technology allows the harvest of wind energy that is too remote to be practically captured using other methods.

Re:Why this technology is a non-starter (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38288992)

Maybe your right,
however some points that counter your argument:
The potential energy in moving water and moving air is very different, due to higher density in water.

Waves and tides are different, but if this tech generates power by water moving around, low winds but high tides should still make it move around a lot in those less windy periods. Plus research in this thing will provide tools and knowledge usable in tidal energy production.

And then there is this next little bomb:
Solar requires good weather during the day, and only the day. Wind requires windy weather (not too much and not to low). A cloudy windless day/night would ruin your entire energy production.
I've never seen a sea/ocean that didn't move.

Re:Why this technology is a non-starter (3, Informative)

Zironic (1112127) | more than 2 years ago | (#38289028)

Your conclusion does not follow from your premises. I can show you how absurd your argument is by re-framing it.

All hydro energy is simply water that has rained down. Thus you are capturing energy that was originally rain. For any given number of dollars, you could try to tap this energy source by.

    Placing your device in the air, where all the internal workings are available for inspection and you can choose a location with relatively rare adverse weather events (like the interior of a country away from the coast)

Placing your device under water, with all the maintenance costs that involves and the need for scuba gear and high $$$ divers to even work on it.

Re:Why this technology is a non-starter (1)

sociocapitalist (2471722) | more than 2 years ago | (#38289092)

Putting it underwater might make sense where putting it above water has been blocked by NIMBYs...

I don't know if it's accurate, but at a guess it seems that underwater equipment might be able to better survive storms and / or large waves.

Another guess might be that for a given surface area hitting a blade a water wave would have more force and thus be able to generate more energy than wind. That being said water is thicker than air so perhaps water wave energy is not as easy to capture as wind energy.

Re:Why this technology is a non-starter (1)

angel'o'sphere (80593) | more than 2 years ago | (#38289256)

You are missing some points:
First of all, waves are more consistent than wind. Wind can dimish or be to strong, while the waves continue quite a while after the wind is gone.
Second, the wave plants consist out of relatively slow moving parts. That means wear and tear should be much lower (if the salt water problem is solved).
Also the main strength of small wave power plants are: you can simply put "one" in front of every small coast town.
Regarding your $$$, I assume per kW and per kW/h wave power will be much cheaper, especially if placed close to the place where the power is consumed.

Wind Mills won't be put on land in a huge extend anyway. The future are off shore wind farms, the next generation wind turbines will have 20MW rated output. Those wont be welcome on land (height about 400m, rotor diameter about 280m, nearly 900 feet)

Re:Why this technology is a non-starter (1)

budgenator (254554) | more than 2 years ago | (#38291890)

    Placing your device under water, with all the maintenance costs that involves and the need for scuba gear and high $$$ divers to even work on it.

Well lets see;

O-DriveTM
The O-DriveTM is a self-contained 250kW power conversion module for use in wave and tidal energy systems. It is designed to be detachable and retrievable, enabling convenient and low-cost maintenance.

The O-DriveTM was developed by BioPower Systems. It is based on the conversion of mechanical energy from an oscillating source to electricity using a hydraulic system coupled to a full AC-DC-AC power conversion system. Within each 250kW module, two hydraulic cylinders deliver high pressure fluid to a bank of accumulators which in turn supply a uniform flow to a hydraulic motor that is directly coupled to an electric generator. The system is self-regulating in variable wave or tidal conditions, such that power to the grid is stable and of utility-grade quality.

The 250kW rating is standard. A 1MW bioWAVETM would be designed to utilise four 250kW O-DriveTM modules, each individually removable, allowing for maximum flexibility and reliability. ...

Convenient Retrieval for Servicing

Each O-DriveTM module is detachable and designed to be conveniently retrieved for servicing. View the animation for a demonstration of this process.
O-DriveTM [biopowersystems.com]

Basically the maintenance ship pulls up, sends down a signal and the power unit floods the blades, the O-Drive disengages and releases a buoy. The ship picks up the buoy and pulls up the O-Drive by the cable, the reinstatement is probably the reverse. For more complicated problems, there are always the ROV option, if that doesn't work in a rare, a commercial diver can easily work at 40-45m.

Old news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38288456)

They have been doing something like this off the coast of Portugal since 2008.

Good thing (1)

SpaghettiPattern (609814) | more than 2 years ago | (#38288486)

Ocean Energy Tech To Be Tested Off Australian Coast

Nowadays results would have had to be enhanced even further should they have decided to test in say Turkmenistan, or closer to home in Nebraska. It is no longer so that most scientists would have shunned the proposition should some idiot have offered them a financial incentive.

Why conjunctiv? (1)

angel'o'sphere (80593) | more than 2 years ago | (#38289192)

Why is this all written in conjunctiv? So many "woulds"?


Extending up from the middle of that foundation would be a central column, topped with multiple blades â" these would actually be more like a combination of the kelp's blades and floats, as they would be cylindrical, buoyant structures that just reach to the surface. The column would join the foundation via a hinged pivot, allowing it to bend or swivel in any direction. Wave action (both at the surface and below) would catch the blades and push them back and forth, in turn causing the column to move back and forth relative to the foundation. This movement would pressurize fluid within an integrated hydraulic power conversion module, known as an O-Drive. The movement of that fluid would spin a generator, converting the kinetic energy of the waves into electricity, which would then be delivered to shore via subsea cables.

After all systems like this already exist and can simply be bought on the market. Most currently running plants however use compressed air instead of hydraulics.

not new (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38291992)

Portugal is starting wave energy production next year... and so is Scotland

Oz Researchers thought of this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38292760)

Really?! I guess the wave motion generators off of Portugal, Scotland, and Cornwall were just small scale tests....

                  mark

Complicated (1)

zmooc (33175) | more than 2 years ago | (#38295966)

Seems rather complicated compared to the vast amount of other approaches to harvesting wave energy. This one, for example, is so much simpler:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RYEQaU_1Ak0 [youtube.com]

No need for divers, no need to attack it to the sea floor other than using an anchor any ship can just drag it into place. Or back in case maintenance needs to be done.

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