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Scotland Building Wave Power Farms

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the rats-water-and-wind-now-we-need-to-harness-dorks dept.

Power 211

eldavojohn writes "Scottish engineers are taking advantage of the huge ocean coast that Scotland enjoys by building a 'wave farm' to harvest electricity from the ocean's powerful waves. These big red tubes have been named the Pelamis System after a sea snake. Max Carcas, the business developer for the firm, says it is 'a bit like a ship at anchor or a flag on a flagpole, it self orientates into the waves ... Waves then travel down the length of the machine and in doing so each of the sections, each of these train carriages, moves up and down and side to side.' These snake-like movements push hydraulic fluid through generators to produce electricity."

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211 comments

duh! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18209816)

I like poo

duh duh duh (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18211718)

I also like poo. Let us eat a butt! Duh duh duh!

Background Information (5, Informative)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 7 years ago | (#18209826)

Back in 2005, Slashdot covered this [slashdot.org] but the company has made great strides since then [oceanpd.com] (flash animation of the Pelamis System [oceanpd.com]).

If you think this idea is new, it is not. The patents for this technology go all the way back to the 1970s.[1] [uspto.gov] [2] [uspto.gov]

As was noted in the original discussion on this topic,

The European Union requires 22 percent of electricity consumption to come from renewable energy sources -- such as solar, wind and wave -- by 2010.
Which explains why you'll see this more and more in the news. Some of the countries in Europe have energy generation from wind & waves up to 10% or 15% but 2010 is getting closer and closer.

Everyone recognizes that it's not smart to put all your eggs in one basket and right now a lot of countries are pretty dependent on oil. With a possible energy crisis or global warming problem, wave power looks like it will be one of the many solutions that each country will develop to mitigate their problems.

Re:Background Information (2, Informative)

cuby (832037) | more than 7 years ago | (#18210028)

The first experimental power station is working in Portugal since May 2006, and it is made from the same palamis system. As far as I know, until now, they didn't publish any results yet. This may indicate that this technology is worthful.

Re:Background Information (4, Insightful)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | more than 7 years ago | (#18210350)

The patents for this technology go all the way back to the 1970s.[1] [2]
Hence the fact that it's only emerging now.

Feel free to mod parent up. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18210860)

This is an example of patents effectively stifling innovation which would benefit everyone.

Re:Background Information (3, Insightful)

Frozen Void (831218) | more than 7 years ago | (#18211596)

Another proof that patents and copyrigths are the enemy of humanity(but very profitable for the elite few).

Re:Background Information (2, Insightful)

MobyDisk (75490) | more than 7 years ago | (#18211732)

Is there any evidence that the companies that hold the patents on this held the patents to prevent others from using them? I would be very interested to know this. If it is true, I think it is important to expose. If it is false, then this is a troll-ish statement just to upset the Slashdot anti-patent crowd.

Power output? (2, Interesting)

SilentOneNCW (943611) | more than 7 years ago | (#18209854)

We just had a environmentalist come to our school to talk about alternate energy sources (this is in the UK), and according to him, these systems will only produce one megawatt of power per unit*, comparable to wind turbines. While there is a lot more space in the water to be taken up by power-generators than on land, I've got to wonder how much energy has gone into producing, designing, and deploying this system. With such a low output per unit, is it even worthwhile? * Again, this is not coming from a really reputable source, just some environmental campaigner. Anyone know any real statistics for these type of systems?

Development costs irrelevant to deployment ... (2)

AHumbleOpinion (546848) | more than 7 years ago | (#18210004)

I've got to wonder how much energy has gone into producing, designing, and deploying this system.

That is an interesting factoid, but irrelevant to the decision of whether or not to deploy. The R&D is a "sunk cost", the money/energy is gone and can not be recovered.

Wave systems can be hidden, unlike wind (1)

AHumbleOpinion (546848) | more than 7 years ago | (#18210122)

With such a low output per unit, is it even worthwhile?

One thing to consider is that wave based systems could conceivably be hidden, unlike wind based systems. Wind turbine projects in the US are often stalled or canceled because someone's view is going to be affected. Ideally the wave based units would be well below the surface and therefore not a navigational hazard, and therefore deployable over a wider area. In other words, we'll make up for the low output with volume. :)

Re:Wave systems can be hidden, unlike wind (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18210418)

Hidden from view is not necessarily a good thing, it is part of what has allowed us all to overconsume energy.

I like wind turbines primarily because they are such an eyesore. If every watt of electricity anyone used had to be generated by a wind turbine it would raise the consciousness of everyone about the real costs of all this energy usage. Bury these wave farms at the bottom of the sea and we'll all go back to opening our windows with the air conditioning running and every TV in the house left on....all while the whole family is out idling in the drive thru of a wave powered McDonalds that somehow magically spirited its ground beef all the way to Nebraska from a recently cleared rainforest in Brazil.

We can apply all the technological band aids we want to this problem and do no good. The problem is our culture. We need to make the results that culture as immediately apparrent to as many people as possible if we want a long term fix.

Re:Wave systems can be hidden, unlike wind (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18211522)

Baloney, a high-powered alternative such as nuclear fusion or solar power satellites would do the job and not necessitate changes in them amounts of our cultural use of energy. The trick of course is to get them to work properly and to lower the economic costs of production.

Re:Wave systems can be hidden, unlike wind (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#18210522)

One thing to consider is that wave based systems could conceivably be hidden, unlike wind based systems.

If you're deriving energy from currents, this is true. But if you're getting it from wave action, you want to be as close to the surface as possible, because that's where the greatest amount of available kinetic energy is located - literally at the boundary between water and air.

If you hid the system JUST below the water, that would be okay - but then it would be a hazard to navigation of small craft. So that's a horrible idea.

Re:Wave systems can be hidden, unlike wind (1)

spun (1352) | more than 7 years ago | (#18210822)

I think what he meant was that these generators will not be as intrusively visible as wind farms, which are often situated on ridges where they are visible for miles around. Wind farms are notorious for generating NIMBYism.

But think of the dolphins and whales! (1)

Radon360 (951529) | more than 7 years ago | (#18211080)

I'm just waiting for some environmental group to start whining about these, too. They complain that windmills kill too many birds. I would put money on someone coming forth and claiming one of several detriments, such as the anchor cables are entangling whales, or the anchors and power cables back to shore (shore ties) are destroying habitat, or they might leak oil, or, or....that these things are shielding too much sunlight (blocking photosynthesis in plankton or something).

Honestly, I think it's a good idea, on par with offshore windmills and such, but I think that it's only a matter of time before some group starts a resistance movement for some idiotic and quite negligible reason.

According to Wikipedia, 0.75 MW/Pelamis Machine (1, Informative)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 7 years ago | (#18210130)

In September of 2006, a company (E.ON UK) had a proposal together [oceanpd.com] that claimed "a potential 5MW wave power project in the sea off Cornwall."

I'm not entirely sure if the 5MW is per unit but, from the Wikipedia page on wave power [wikipedia.org]:

The formula below shows how wave power can be calculated. Excluding waves created by major storms, the largest waves are about 15 meters high and have a period of about 15 seconds. According to the formula, such waves carry about 1700 kilowatts of potential power across each meter of wavefront. A good wave power location will have an average flux much less than this: perhaps about 50 kW/m.

* Formula: Power (in kW/m) = k H^2 T ~ 0.5 H^2 T,

where k = constant, H = wave height (crest to trough) in meters, and T = wave period (crest to crest) in seconds.
And from the specific wave farm [wikipedia.org]:

Portugal claims the world's first commercial wave farm, the Aguçadora Wave Park near Póvoa de Varzim, established in 2006. The farm will initially use three Pelmis P-750 machines generating 2.25 MW.[1] [2] Initial costs are put at 8,5 million euro. Subject to successful operation, a further 70 million euro is likely to be invested before 2009 on a further 28 machines to generate 525 MW.[3]
And for the UK:

Funding for a wave farm in Scotland was announced on February 20, 2007 by the Scottish Executive, at a cost of over 4 million pounds, as part of a £13 million funding packages for marine power in Scotland. The farm will be the world's largest with a capacity of 3MW generated by four Pelamis machines.[4].
So I would guess that "per unit" would be 3MW/4 Units or 0.75 MW/Unit. Although I don't know what the point is if by unit you mean machine and a Pelamis machine is much less in cost to build than a coal/oil powered turbine. Could you specify if you mean per unit as in per turbine? I understand what you mean, there is a lot to be said about start up cost and maintenance though I don't think there's a lot of information out there as Portugal and Scotland are few countries investing in this technology.

Re:According to Wikipedia, 0.75 MW/Pelamis Machine (2, Interesting)

smaddox (928261) | more than 7 years ago | (#18210808)

When have you ever seen a wave 15meters high excluding major storms?

Re:Power output? (1, Funny)

hey (83763) | more than 7 years ago | (#18210532)

You are right, it's better not to the spend any energy or effort on making alternate energy sources.
Gas and oil are clean and unlimited, there's really no need for anything else.
What are these people thinking?

Re:Power output? It's not wind, though. (1)

Seantotheizzo (1011799) | more than 7 years ago | (#18210824)

You forget that wind is extremely variable, ocean waves are pretty consistent. Over the long term wind can produce more predictable results, but in the short term, you won't have days where these things sit idle and are not useful like windmills.

Re:Power output? (1)

ajpr (921401) | more than 7 years ago | (#18211266)

I think the question is more about the future of alternate energy sources. How does wave power scale compared to wind power? With windpower you have to keep building large, separate structures. The wave power looks like it can be added to, rather than needing new structures.

Of course solar is also an option, and there are some companies that are claiming to bring solar power costs down to 'cheaper than fossil fuel' levels. That could just be hype, but if you look at how solar has decreased in cost since the 70s, you can extrapolate that in 10 years solar will be cheaper per watt than oil/gas/coal is currently. I'm predicting that in about 2010-2012 we will start reading about large scale installations of solar power that will be entering the energy market to compete directly with traditional energy suppliers.

Re:Power output? (1)

Westley (99238) | more than 7 years ago | (#18211316)

I'm sure you're right about solar power being a big part of the future - but maybe not in Scotland ;)

Re:Power output? (1)

DarkDaimon (966409) | more than 7 years ago | (#18211570)

I'm sure you're right about solar power being a big part of the future - but maybe not in Scotland ;)
I couldn't agree with you more. Scotland does not have a lot of sunny days, but with all its coastline, it has plenty of waves. I think each country is going to use what works best for them. Solar power will definitely dominate in the sun belt countries but wind and wave power is a must for countries with more inclimate weather.

Scotland != Portugal (5, Informative)

kindbud (90044) | more than 7 years ago | (#18209898)

"Scottish engineers are taking advantage of the huge ocean coast that Scotland enjoys by building a 'wave farm'....


In Portugal. From TFA:

Scottish engineers will soon deploy an offshore "wave farm" in Portugal.

They have also signed a deal to build an even larger farm in Scottish waters.

Construction of the wave farm in Portugal has been underway for the past year in a busy shipyard in the Portuguese coastal town of Peniche.

'Bout time... (1, Funny)

VitrosChemistryAnaly (616952) | more than 7 years ago | (#18209900)

'Bout time that good for nothing sea pulled its weight.

I mean, what's it ever done for us? Nothing!

Generating a little electricity will only start repaying what its mother and I have given it over the years.

Now if we could just get it to move out of our basement or start paying rent...
Geez!

Anyone know what the "hydraulic fluid" is? (1, Interesting)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#18209908)

As per the FA, "These snake-like movements push hydraulic fluid through generators to produce electricity." Is this fluid water, or something else?

If they're using typical "hydraulic fluid" then they should be shot immediately. Or in fact ANYTHING other than water. Fresh or salt makes no difference, can't cause more than a minor blip in the salt content if it's fresh anyway.

But since the FA doesn't say, and I'm too lazy to go do a bunch of research... Anyone know?

Re:Anyone know what the "hydraulic fluid" is? (2, Informative)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 7 years ago | (#18210056)

Sorry, it's "high pressure oil" (from their interactive presentation).

Re:Anyone know what the "hydraulic fluid" is? (1)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 7 years ago | (#18210132)

Of course it uses hydraulic fluid. Water would corrode the metal parts and would probably leak constantly. Hydraulics require a sealed system and a heavy viscous fluid. If you used a thin fluid like water, it would leak constantly and you'd spend more energy maintaining the hardware than you'd get out of it.

Re:Anyone know what the "hydraulic fluid" is? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#18210388)

Of course it uses hydraulic fluid. Water would corrode the metal parts and would probably leak constantly.

The system is going to be used in a marine environment. It's going to corrode anyway. Frankly, you could probably do it without metal parts...

Hydraulics require a sealed system and a heavy viscous fluid.

I'm not sure who told you that, but they lied. They're using cylinders (presumably) as pumps, and they're running the fluid through turbines. A viscous fluid is easier to utilize under high pressure, for obvious reasons, but there's no particular reason why this system should be all that high-pressure anyway.

If you used a thin fluid like water, it would leak constantly and you'd spend more energy maintaining the hardware than you'd get out of it.

This thing is going to get wiped out the first time a major storm comes through anyway, and is thus a stupid idea regardless. But I disagree with your assertion. They have a lot of space available, so they can use large cylinders at lower pressure and still get good flow.

Regardless of who is right, it is irresponsible to be putting hydraulic fluid out there.

Re:Anyone know what the "hydraulic fluid" is? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18210716)

Didn't you see that you got modded down for this garbage once already?

"The system is going to be used in a marine environment. It's going to corrode anyway"

That's wrong and I'm guessing you don't know why.

"but there's no particular reason why this system should be all that high-pressure anyway."

No, that's wrong, and betrays your fundamental misunderstanding of hydraulics. Why comment when you're just making shit up? You sound like a moron to those of us who DO know hydraulics.

"This thing is going to get wiped out the first time a major storm comes through anyway"

This is the central point of your argument, and since is simply an assumption pulled from your ass (like the rest of your comments) there is no way you can possibly know this. I mean, apart from the fact that you're a know-it-all.

"Regardless of who is right, it is irresponsible to be putting hydraulic fluid out there."

Well, YOU'RE not right, that's for sure. And the other part of that sentence is wrong too.

I'm going to show you something, then I want you to admit you're an idiot. What I'm going to show you will definitively prove it, but I'd like to see you act like a man for once.

"Environmentally sensitive applications (e.g. farm tractors and marine dredging) may benefit from using biodegradable hydraulic fluids based upon rapeseed (Canola) vegetable oil when there is the risk of an oil spill from a ruptured oil line. Typically these oils are available as ISO 32, ISO 46, and ISO 68 specification oils. ASTM standards ASTM-D-6006, Guide for Assessing Biodegradability of Hydraulic Fluids and ASTM-D-6046, Standard Classification of Hydraulic Fluids for Environmental Impact are relevant. 2004 prices were about $25/gallon in small quantities."

Did you REALLY think you were the first person to think hydraulic fluid might spill into the ocean? Did you REALLY think they didn't have a solution?

STFU now. But not until you admit you're an idiot.

Re:Anyone know what the "hydraulic fluid" is? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#18211252)

"The system is going to be used in a marine environment. It's going to corrode anyway"
That's wrong and I'm guessing you don't know why.

Either it's made out of non-corroding materials, or it will corrode. Period.

If you actually knew anything about hydraulics you would know that there is no system that is actually leak-proof. In addition, almost no hydraulic systems are actually ever a completely closed system. They usually have a reservoir with a return and a vent. Moisture contaminates fluid over time and ruins it. But also, the constant waxing and waning of pressure tends to find weak points and exploit them.

If the total volume of the system is not constant - which is damned near unheard of - then it's not going to be an entirely closed system unless the variance is less than the capacity of the accumulators installed into the system to handle it.

"but there's no particular reason why this system should be all that high-pressure anyway."
No, that's wrong, and betrays your fundamental misunderstanding of hydraulics. Why comment when you're just making shit up? You sound like a moron to those of us who DO know hydraulics.

There are numerous examples of hydraulic systems that run on water. In fact, the largest hydraulic system on the planet is a big piece of earth floating on a layer of water at a quarry, and it is used to operate a water cannon for strip mining. And of course, there are the systems in which water pressure is used to drive a cylinder which drives a cylinder which pumps water. You install 'em in a stream and bingo, they lift water up to a tank for you.

"This thing is going to get wiped out the first time a major storm comes through anyway"
This is the central point of your argument, and since is simply an assumption pulled from your ass (like the rest of your comments) there is no way you can possibly know this. I mean, apart from the fact that you're a know-it-all.

Those who forget history are condemned to repeat it. Do you know why coastlines look the way they do? Because they get fucking pounded on a regular basis. And there is nowhere that is safe. If it's not storms that come around every few years to a decade and wash the coast clean, then it's a place with tropical storms, or tsunamis, etc etc. Consequently nothing built on the surface or shore of the ocean can exist indefinitely even as that term is typically used by people, which is to say "around longer than me".

I'm going to show you something, then I want you to admit you're an idiot. What I'm going to show you will definitively prove it, but I'd like to see you act like a man for once.

Congratulations. You can read Wikipedia. But can you follow links from Wikipedia?

"In tests, about 30 percent of a petroleum-based hydraulic fluid degraded in 28 days, compared to 80 percent for vegetable-based estolides." (http://www.ars.usda.gov/is/AR/archive/nov98/oil11 98.htm) This doesn't describe what is left behind, how long it takes the remnant to break down, or for that matter, how the percentage of biodegradation changes over the course of those 28 days.

Since one has to pay for ASTM-D-6046, it's difficult (without spending money) to really determine what even the government says about their environmental impact.

We also don't know anything about the testing environment.

I find the argument that it is environmentally safe because the government says so to be entirely specious. And in fact they don't even say it's safe! They say it's cleaner. Greener. Not clean or green.

Finally, I will not even fucking begin to admit anything to a Coward like yourself. Log in, join the parade, and put yourself out there for ridicule, and I might consider it. But I owe you nothing.

I do know better than to even respond to ACs, but I do it occasionally anyways as an object lesson to others. I know that those who don't want to participate on an even level are usually not worth wasting the time on. I don't think this is much of an exception, but I don't want people to think that you're right or something.

Re:Anyone know what the "hydraulic fluid" is? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18211474)

Finally, I will not even fucking begin to admit anything to a Coward like yourself.

Well, apart from your logical fallacies and objections to points I never made, this struck me as the most enjoyable part of your otherwise worthless post.

I suppose any excuse will do when an AC like me has just short-circuited your idiotic rant with facts. "I don't respond to AC's" is simply bitch-speak for "you were right and I'm an idiot, but because you're an AC, that's a convenient excuse for me to avoid admitting it"

Transparent and pathetic.

but I don't want people to think that you're right or something

And yet you just spent how long composing a response to try to prove it. Sorry, you failed there. I was right, and I still am. God how that must burn your idiot ass that I flamed you, AND got modded informative because what you said was so wrong that even my small contribution was more worthy of modding up then all the bullshit you made up.

You know I'm right. But as I expected you used a lame excuse to avoid admitting it. Men don't do that, cowards do. So they may CALL me Anonymous Coward, but at least I don't try to live up to the name like you do.

Re:Anyone know what the "hydraulic fluid" is? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#18211678)

I suppose any excuse will do when an AC like me has just short-circuited your idiotic rant with facts. "I don't respond to AC's" is simply bitch-speak for "you were right and I'm an idiot, but because you're an AC, that's a convenient excuse for me to avoid admitting it"

Actually, I don't agree that you were correct. You were in fact incorrect on every single point. But as you are incapable of rational debate, I am unsurprised that you would declare yourself the victor.

And before you make the assertion that I am a bitch again, perhaps you would care to publish your contact information for the world to see, as I have done? It's trivial to find me, probably, based on the information I provide here. You're the one that's hiding, boy.

You know I'm right. But as I expected you used a lame excuse to avoid admitting it. Men don't do that, cowards do. So they may CALL me Anonymous Coward, but at least I don't try to live up to the name like you do.

You live up to the name every time you talk shit to someone while logged in as an Anonymous Coward. See, they call it that because it's true. It is cowardice that leads to anonymous posting. Those who have the courage of their convictions have no need of anonymity... unless you think that your government or someone else is going to come and shoot you in the back of the head for your idiotic assertions.

I of course would do no such thing. But if you truly believe that I'm some kind of "bitch" for your amusement, perhaps you would care to come and attempt to be amused? I'll be happy to correct you.

Re:Anyone know what the "hydraulic fluid" is? (1)

hobbit (5915) | more than 7 years ago | (#18211660)

Consequently nothing built on the surface or shore of the ocean can exist indefinitely even as that term is typically used by people, which is to say "around longer than me".
Coastlines have been around for a LOT longer than you. Go take a long walk off a short pier, remembering to marvel at the fact it hasn't yet washed away.

Re:Anyone know what the "hydraulic fluid" is? (1)

Hijacked Public (999535) | more than 7 years ago | (#18210816)

They could use something exotic, like dentritic cobalt or one of the more wacky titanium alloys, for their fittings and end up with fittings that would resist corrosion long enough to make sense.

If they are indeed using something other than water they must be building quite a bit of this system from scratch, since every single commercially available hydraulic fitting design ever come up with leaks. Hydro salesmen will sell you a load of sunshine about leakproofness, but no one believes them.

Re:Anyone know what the "hydraulic fluid" is? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18211046)

This thing is going to get wiped out the first time a major storm comes through anyway, and is thus a stupid idea regardless.

Yeah. I'm sure they've poured millions of dollars into development and haven't thought about storms. You should email them and tell them.

Re:Anyone know what the "hydraulic fluid" is? (1)

SpaceLifeForm (228190) | more than 7 years ago | (#18210450)

And as soon as a storm (or other) causes damage, you
have a potential environmental mess to clean up.

Re:Anyone know what the "hydraulic fluid" is? (2, Insightful)

EzraSj (993720) | more than 7 years ago | (#18210740)

Who the hell modded this as flamebait? Sounds like a perfectly reasonable question. Moderation these days...

Use a biodegradable oil. (1)

Radon360 (951529) | more than 7 years ago | (#18211208)

Is it too far out of line to think about using a non-petroleum based oil? They do make special application hydraulic oils made from vegetable/tree oil [usda.gov]. Sure, it's a lot more expensive and maybe a little inferior in comparison to its petroleum equivalent, but it's cheap insurance. That way when does leak or fail, the environmental impact would be much less.

Re:Use a biodegradable oil. (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#18211346)

That way when does leak or fail, the environmental impact would be much less.

Just listen to yourself. "much less"

The oceans are DYING. CO2 raising acidity is killing the corals. Pollution of all types is killing oceanic algae, the source of something like 80% of our oxygen (I think more, forget the stat.)

Of course you could make the [specious] argument that container ships flushing hundreds of gallons of bunker fuel (basically a dirtier diesel) into the ocean means that a few gallons of biodegradable hydraulic fluid going into the ocean is okay. But that's bullshit, it's like saying "okay so you shot me - I guess it doesn't matter if you stab me, too." Not that you made this argument, but I want to head it off just in case anyone should decide to come back with it.

Finally, in a study, after 28 days 30% of petroleum oil had biodegraded, and 80% of bio-oil had biodegraded. We can probably both agree pretty readily on which is worse. But how long does it take for the other 20% to biodegrade? All ingredients in lubricant are not equal. What we think of as "oil" is actually a cocktail of ingredients mixed together to achieve a purpose. Depending on the type of oil there may be detergents to help keep things clean, surfactants to reduce foaming, other additives to increase the boiling point and reduce burning, and all manner of other crap.

You'll have a hard time convincing me that spewing ANY kind of oil into the ocean, even vegetable oil for cooking, lacks negative repercussions.

Re:Use a biodegradable oil. (1)

mattcasters (67972) | more than 7 years ago | (#18211728)

Well "drinkypoo", I would really advice you to get your priorities straight.
I would highly doubt that anybody on this forum is saying that dumping oil into the ocean is a Good Thing(tm).
However, your drawing the conclusion that this system is Evil(tm) because it uses hydrolics. It's an experimental system for crying out loud!
You know virtually nothing about the new device yet you are so very keen on spouting criticism.

I would have modded you in exactly the same way. Dude, people like you give tree-huggers a bad name.

Matt

abuse of moderation (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#18211402)

This is not a troll. This is a serious issue. Spilling ANYTHING but saltwater into the ocean is NOT GOOD. Even things which biodegrade don't do it instantly. Even fresh water is bad; depending on conditions, currents, etc it may or may not dissipate rapidly into the seawater, and fresh water can kill some marine creatures surprisingly rapidly. I only bring IT up as a solution because it will not be likely to leave the cylinders quickly even if they are holed, so it will be very diffuse. That matters a lot less with oil, though. If you want to call this flamebait because I suggested that someone be shot, that's fine; although I think that most of us would agree that the health of the ocean is more important than the lives of a handful of people. Moderating down a comment because of the person who wrote it (which is what most of my "troll" mods are based upon) is irresponsible and displays the same lack of interest in protecting the slashdot environment as this project displays in the real one.

I wonder how it compares? (4, Interesting)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 7 years ago | (#18210012)

Ocean Power [oceanpower...logies.com] is currently installing their Utility-sized bouys off the Oregon Coast, with the first 14 being a 2MW power plant for the city of Reedsport (providing about a quarter of the needed electricity for that resort community). The BBC article doesn't say what the expected output of the Scottish plant, using different technology, would be. Anybody know how the power output compares?

Re:I wonder how it compares? (1)

Knox (132924) | more than 7 years ago | (#18210836)

The article says:

"The plan is to place 30 of these devices five kilometres out to sea"
"Each Pelamis has three power conversion modules that together generate 750kW"

So that would give 22.5MW.

Re:I wonder how it compares? (2, Interesting)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 7 years ago | (#18211004)

Ok, so one Pelamis is 750kw, as one Ocean Power Utility Size Bouy is 40kw. I sure wish the companies involved would reveal the cost of these modules so that we could do a true comparison....

Re:I wonder how it compares? (1)

Greg Lindahl (37568) | more than 7 years ago | (#18211116)

... cost for what volume of production? Today's low-production-volume cost is not tomorrow's cost.

Squawk!!! (-1, Troll)

hedon_elite (559044) | more than 7 years ago | (#18210038)

{conservative seagull}

Oh this will NEVER work, it won't even put a DENT in the countries energy needs, it's all a POINTLESS endeavor.

You'll just have to keep buying foreign oil.

{/conservative seagull}

Re:Squawk!!! (0, Troll)

ergo98 (9391) | more than 7 years ago | (#18210282)

{democrat seagull}

OMG! The world is coming to an end! If we don't change our behavior now, the whole planet is done. Aghhhhh!!!!

--runs like a chicken with his head cut off--

--out of the crowd's site, he calms down and starts evaluating if that earning the necessary personal karma for the next power grab--

"Dear, could you turn the Olympic sized pool to 115F? Our hot-tub is just far too small.

Do you think we add a couple more floors on this empty nester monstrosity? As it is, I don't think we're absolutely dwarfing the common family to the degree that we fully should."

{/democrat seagull}

Re:Squawk!!! (0, Offtopic)

Paulrothrock (685079) | more than 7 years ago | (#18210340)

Can someone explain what "democrat" means when used as an adjective? I've heard a similar term "democratic" used as an adjective. Maybe the adjective "democrat" means "the person saying this should get their head out of the punch bowl and stop drinking the kool aid."

Re:Squawk!!! (0, Flamebait)

ergo98 (9391) | more than 7 years ago | (#18210496)

Can someone explain what "democrat" means when used as an adjective? I've heard a similar term "democratic" used as an adjective. Maybe the adjective "democrat" means "the person saying this should get their head out of the punch bowl and stop drinking the kool aid."

Interesting you should mention this particular point. While I do wish I put liberal, to more aptly fit with the grandparent, I happened to be thinking of Gore at the moment which led me to Democrat.

I apologize. While I might be classically conservative, I most certainly am not a Republican, or a supporter of Bush or any Evangelical crusade, or mixing of church and state.

Nonetheless, conservatives (conserve-atives) in no way correlate with the observation of the OP, so the OP probably should have used republican given that it was clearly their real target.

Having said that, I do find it humorous that some act so injured by the term "Democrat", given that it is a word that has been in use to refer to members or supporters of the Democratic party for decades. In fact, why don't you take a look at the URL for The Democratic Party [democrats.org]. Yeah, it's the pluralization of democrat given any normal use of the English language.

In fact, what do you know, the dictionary definition [answers.com] includes the definition "Democrat - A member of the Democratic Party.".

So my intended use was exactly right, though you've shown that you've regurgitated one of the standard talking points, apparently drinking a little too much of the kool-aid.

Re:Squawk!!! (1)

hamburger lady (218108) | more than 7 years ago | (#18211288)

you seem to be missing the point. 'democrat' is a noun. hence, 'democrats'. the adjective version is 'democratic'.

the use of 'democrat' as an adjective as in 'the democrat party' is a long-standing republican dig on the dems. i believe it originated as a means to slander them essentially refusing to describe them or their ideas as 'democratic' from some belief that since they're liberal they are anti-democracy.

it would be similar to dems describing the GOP as the "republican't party". 'oops, we just accidentally added a 't' there, no harm done'.

Re:Squawk!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18210554)

Seriously, who really cares about a minor misuse of grammar? I think the point he was trying to make is that this seagull is apparently registered to vote, and that just makes no sense at all. Why should seagulls be allowed to belong to political parties? Why should they be allowed to vote? That's the question you SHOULD be asking. I think we should all be asking it.

Re:Squawk!!! (3, Insightful)

ArcherB (796902) | more than 7 years ago | (#18210792)

Oh this will NEVER work, it won't even put a DENT in the countries energy needs, it's all a POINTLESS endeavor.

You'll just have to keep buying foreign oil.


Funny, that is the exact same argument that liberals use when talking about ANWR. Fact is, any energy added to the grid is a good thing, as long as it produces more energy than what you put into it!

Re:Squawk!!! (1)

spun (1352) | more than 7 years ago | (#18210892)

Fact is, any energy added to the grid is a good thing, as long as it produces more energy than what you put into it!

And as long as all externalities are paid for by the people causing them. Which rules out the ANWR, doesn't it?

Re:Squawk!!! (2, Insightful)

rlp (11898) | more than 7 years ago | (#18210984)

> And as long as all externalities are paid for by the people causing them. Which rules out the ANWR, doesn't it?

You're right - it would most effect Alaskans, particularly the Inuit. Odd how most Alaskans, and north coast Inuit seem to be in favor of ANWR drilling. Oh, well. Let's just import more mid-east oil.

Re:Squawk!!! (1)

spun (1352) | more than 7 years ago | (#18211098)

Odd how most Alaskans, and north coast Inuit seem to be in favor of ANWR drilling. Oh, well. Let's just import more mid-east oil.

Odd how Alaskans, who all profit off of oil, would be in favor of something that would give them a bigger government check. Strange how externalities like destruction of habitat impact everyone, not just those living nearby. Weird how little oil there actually is in the ANWR. Bizarre how the only possible alternative to drilling in a wildlife refuge is importing foreign oil.

Re:Squawk!!! (2, Insightful)

ArcherB (796902) | more than 7 years ago | (#18211698)

Odd how Alaskans, who all profit off of oil, would be in favor of something that would give them a bigger government check. Strange how externalities like destruction of habitat impact everyone, not just those living nearby.

We are drilling in Prudhoe bay, about 50 miles from ANWR. Is there a "destruction of habitat" there? Nope. The wildlife is actually doing better there. Besides, who's habitat is it if not the Alaskans? Would like Eskimos telling your state where it can build roads or structures?

Weird how little oil there actually is in the ANWR.

It's estimated that we will be able to pump as much out of ANWR as we are importing from Saudi Arabia for 30 years. Some say it's only about 3% of us annual oil use, but that's still a LOT of friggin oil!

Bizarre how the only possible alternative to drilling in a wildlife refuge is importing foreign oil.

Well, if we are not drillining ANWR, it's either import it or not use it. While everyone agrees that we should eliminate our need for fossil fuels altogether, that's still a long way off. Hopefully, 30 years should cover it.

Re:Squawk!!! (1)

evilviper (135110) | more than 7 years ago | (#18211680)

Fact is, any energy added to the grid is a good thing, as long as it produces more energy than what you put into it!

"In this house, we obey the laws of thermodynamics!"

Scotland has 50% of its population on the dole (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18210074)

The other 50% is employed by the State to administer to dole system. Guess who foots the bill? The English!

Don't wait for these selfish fucks to declare independence. Get a grip and boot these lazy cunts out of the United Kingdom.

Obligatory Quote from a Scottish Engineer (5, Funny)

thewiz (24994) | more than 7 years ago | (#18210186)

"We canna create any more power, Captain! They're wiggling as fast as they can!"

Re:Obligatory Quote from a Scottish Engineer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18211308)

When I saw the headline I thought "yawwn, wake me when they have a Wave Motion Gun...!"

Consistancy? (0, Redundant)

LoudMusic (199347) | more than 7 years ago | (#18210224)

I'm sure this questions is answered somewhere in TFA but I'm going to confess to being too damn lazy to read it.

Are the ocean waves consistent enough that fixed-length tubes will be efficient in all conditions, or are they adjustable for higher and lower frequency waves?

Where I find this technology to be very cool, it seems to me that simple tidal generators would be simpler and more consistent.

Re:Consistancy? (2, Insightful)

Radon360 (951529) | more than 7 years ago | (#18211366)

There's no consistency to the wind, either, but it can be adapted. I would imagine that every joint has a piston pump that provides varying spurts of pressure/volume. These could force hydraulic fluid into an accumulator (basically, a pressure tank that is partially filled with a nitrogen gas bladder so that you can "compress" the fluid and keep it under pressure). Inline with the accumulator is a regulator that feeds into a hydraulic motor/turbine, which turns the generator at a relatively constant speed. On land, the generator output is likely converted to DC, then inverted back to AC (solid state) to keep the phase and voltage in synch with the grid.

Environmental Impact: Scotland the Wave (5, Funny)

aapold (753705) | more than 7 years ago | (#18210404)

Is no one concerned about the potential impact this will have, by providing a drag on the waves that would else naturally strike the coast, thus potentially reducing the habitat for species adatped to the wave-heavy environment of Scotland's coast? What about the mollusks and other marine invertebrates who can only spread and prosper via wave transort...

Its just like those people who advocate wind power and never consider the impact of slowing down the world's winds, thus reducing the natural spread of wind-bourne seeds and so on...

Re:Environmental Impact: Scotland the Wave (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18210720)

Its just like those people who advocate wind power and never consider the impact of slowing down the world's winds
Are you really that concerned about reduced wind effects? Here, I'll make it up to you. Pull my finger.

Re:Environmental Impact: Scotland the Wave (2, Informative)

JoshDM (741866) | more than 7 years ago | (#18210872)

Is no one concerned about the potential impact this will have, by providing a drag on the waves that would else naturally strike the coast...?

IANAS, but (1) there's not enough of these to have any forseeable impact at the moment and (2) ocean movement energy is supplied by the tides, which are powered by gravitational forces between the earth, sun and the moon. So if anything, this is solar power. :D

Re:Environmental Impact: Scotland the Wave (1)

Anonymous Cow herd (2036) | more than 7 years ago | (#18211242)

You can't "run out" of wind or "stop" wind by using wind energy any more than you can "use up" a river with a mill wheel. Wind is pretty much just the atmosphere trying to correct pressure differentials caused by uneven heating and cooling caused by solar radiation. So really it's just a kinetic form of solar power :-P

Re:Environmental Impact: Scotland the Wave (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18211590)

"You can't "run out" of wind or "stop" wind by using wind energy any more than you can "use up" a river with a mill wheel."

The originally mighty Colorado River in the United States would strong disagree with you.

Re:Environmental Impact: Scotland the Wave (1)

evilviper (135110) | more than 7 years ago | (#18211618)

You can't "run out" of wind or "stop" wind by using wind energy any more than you can "use up" a river with a mill wheel.

You can indeed run out of wind, slowing it down to nearly nothing with enough windmills. Ditto for "a mill wheel". Each one removes energy from the water, changes the environment up and downstream. With enough of them, the water will practically come to a stop and never reach its destination.

The OP's claims are still bullshit. Using wind-power doesn't mean we need to use 100% of it... Things like dams have worked out wonderfully, and although we can't expand on them much more than we can, what they provide is great, and far better than the alternatives, NOT utilizing hydro.

Re:Environmental Impact: Scotland the Wave (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18211784)

yep, and we'll never produce enough pollution to make a difference.

Unresearched side effects. (1)

Kenja (541830) | more than 7 years ago | (#18210656)

The problem I have with wave power is that it takes energy out of the oceanic eco system. What effects is that going to have ten years down the road?

Re:Unresearched side effects. (1)

JoshDM (741866) | more than 7 years ago | (#18210838)

The problem I have with wave power is that it takes energy out of the oceanic eco system.

No it doesn't. IANAS, but ocean movement energy is supplied by the tides, which are powered by gravitational forces between the earth, sun and the moon.

Re:Unresearched side effects. (1)

ChrisMaple (607946) | more than 7 years ago | (#18211490)

Waves are made by wind; increased wave energy comes from decreased wind energy. Extracting this energy from waves will cool the coastal ocean, although this will be offset somewhat by decreased evaporation from waves hitting the shore. Since we are already using the ocean as a heat sink, this will have a compensating effect, driving us closer to a "natural" condition.

Re:Unresearched side effects. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18211126)

Yeah. They should get all those obstructive coastlines out of the wave's way, like Nature intended. Then you'll see the tide turn!

Re:Unresearched side effects. (1)

BoothbyTCD (713107) | more than 7 years ago | (#18211716)

I'm guessing that you are trolling. Either that you you need seriously consider the amount of energy imparted to the ocean by wind, tidal forces and heating by the sun vs. the amount of energy we could possibly extract with even a huge number of these units. I guess science classes these days don't stress estimation much.

(-1, "Orientate" isn't a word) (1)

arodland (127775) | more than 7 years ago | (#18210668)

No, really. It isn't.

Re:(-1, "Orientate" isn't a word) (2, Informative)

wes33 (698200) | more than 7 years ago | (#18210908)

Orientate \O"ri*en*tate\, v. t. [imp. & p. p. Orientated; p. pr. & vb. n. Orientating.] [From Orient.] [1913 Webster] 1. To place or turn toward the east; to cause to assume an easterly direction, or to veer eastward. [1913 Webster]

Re:(-1, "Orientate" isn't a word) (1)

BoberFett (127537) | more than 7 years ago | (#18211334)

Perhaps, but find someone who actually uses in that context rather than simply a bastardization of the word 'orientation' instead of using 'orient' as they should.

Offshore Platform Levelers (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 7 years ago | (#18210698)

Some offshore oil platforms (that aren't foundations on the seafloor) use hydraulic feedback lifters to rock their bottoms against the rising waves, keeping their platforms level even in heavy seas. Is there a version of that system which can power itself from the energy coming from those waves. Maybe with a little power against friction to keep the seesaw net action balanced.

Is there a cheap system (<$100K) I could use for a floating home of my own, even if I have to invent the feedback power system myself?

Re:Offshore Platform Levelers (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18211646)

Hey look everyone it's Doc Karma Whoring Moron. Still have no life I see. How pathetic are you that you're a REGULAR at a web board where you post more than 20 times a day?

Very. Save your protests, you know I'm right.

Now this is something I'd like to see more of (1)

SevenHands (984677) | more than 7 years ago | (#18210758)

I wonder how the infrastructure and mechanisms in place would stand up to severe weather (however, the larger the waves, the more power generated) and located in the ocean, salt water. Corrosion of moving parts (bearings) would be a huge issue in my opinion. Design, Construction and Material costs would probably be higher as a result. However, if this design proves to be cheap, robust and effective, this technology could go far.

If This Harms One Living Creature (1)

aquatone282 (905179) | more than 7 years ago | (#18210924)

. . . I am going to EXPLODE with self-righteous rage!

(What the hell - my karma's shot anyways. . .)

Sushi? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18210988)

"each of these train carriages, moves up and down and side to side."?

And I'll be harnessing road kill sushi. How's this going to affect surrounding sea life?

Let me be the first to say.. (1)

AikonMGB (1013995) | more than 7 years ago | (#18211060)

Let me be the first to say, I hope he doesn't drown on the project, lest these waves wash up his decaying Carcas.

Annnnnnnd, I'm going home.

Not really Scotland doing this (1)

heffrey (229704) | more than 7 years ago | (#18211082)

Although the company OPD (who are actually customers of my company) is based in Leith, Edinburgh, Scotland, the money is mostly from Norway! OPD went bust and Norsk Hydro (a major Norwegian state oil co) bailed them out with some 3i venture capital.

Rather a shame that we Brits can't seem to do these things ourselves. Apparently the DTI (dept. trade & industry) have stated that they are not prepared to lose out on wave power, after having lost to Denmark over onshore wind power. Seems that this desire not to lose is not backed by any resolve (=cash!)

My top tip for offshore energy is SWAY: http://www.sway.no/ [www.sway.no]

More British Sea Power (ho ho) (3, Interesting)

Bertie (87778) | more than 7 years ago | (#18211110)

There are plans afoot to harness the ridiculously powerful tides of Strangford Lough in Northern Ireland, and build a turbine of similar generating power to this contraption. The tide there sometimes moves as fast as you can jog.Here's a BBC report [bbc.co.uk] on it.

Steorn (1)

atmelinside (1026054) | more than 7 years ago | (#18211506)

Scoths vs. Irish [seorn.net]. If either one wins, it's good for all of us. I hope that at lest one of them succeeds. I hate to pay for Russian oil/gas.
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