Wave power is the name given to energy derived by making use of ocean surface waves to generate electricity. It is a renewable source of energy and can be used as an alternative to fossil fuels such as gas, oil and coal. This particular source of energy imparts certain advantages over other sources of renewable energy such as the efficiency, accessibility and predictability.
Pelamis Wave Energy Converter has been created by the Scottish company, Pelamis Wave Power, and is the first commercial machine that is capable of generating electricity via means of ocean wave energy. As of now, they are using generators that are installed in Portugal close to the town of Povoa de Varzim as the first commercial-scale wave power station in the world. The project took about a total of 6 years of research.
The name has been derived from a tropical and subtropical waters’ sea snake that is known as ‘Pelamis platurus’. Since the form of the power station resembles the yellow-bellied sea snake, thus the name! The energy converter incorporates three cylindrical sections that have been joined together to make a length of 142 meters and a 3.5-meter diameter and is partially submerged.
The waves impart movement in the three sections thus activating an internal hydraulic system that pumps high pressure oil through an assembly of hydraulic motors. These motors are then connected to an electrical generator, which is responsible for creating energy that is subsequently transported to a base located on the seabed.
The energy recovery system has been designed while keeping in mind that it has to tackle harsh weather conditions as well. The system is environment-friendly and limits the use of chemicals that are responsible for reduction in coral growth and thus, imparts a minimal impact on the marine life during its working.