About Wave Energy

About wave energy

Ocean energy is renewable energy from the sea. Vast amounts of energy is contained in the ocean, which can be harvested for heating or electricity.

A huge resource

The sun shining on Earth transfers huge amounts of energy. The solar radiation heats up both the land and the seas, and creates weather systems in the atmosphere. The wind creates waves, and temperature differences drives ocean currents. The gravitational pull from the moon creates tides. In principle, the ocean have the potential to supply us with all the energy we need. If only we can harness it and make use of it.

Our initial focus in on four different technologies for extracting energy from the ocean:

Basically we focus on 4 different technologies to extract the energy into the ocean:

Wave Energy

Osmotic power

Utilization of tidal or ocean currents

Thermal energy

 

Out of these, it is usually wave energy that receives the most attention. It have the greatest energy potential, about 80.000 TWh/year. However, could it also be the most challenging to utilize? The first patent for wave energy generation was awarded in 1799. During the following 200 years untold amounts of principles and patents have been developed. We have still yet to see a truly convincing concept though, and the world is still waiting for the first large-scale commercial wave energy plant.

Of the other forms of energy, thermal energy have the most potential. This is already being utilized, by heat pumps using the ocean as a heat reservoir. Research is also being conducted into OTEC (Ocean Thermal Energy Converters) – heat engines that produce electricity from temperature differences in the water column.

Tidal power and osmotic power have less energy potential than wave power, but have the great advantage that the production can be planned. The tide cycle is predictable, and osmotic power can produce stable base load around the clock.

Four tidal power plants have been developed by Norwegian companies. One have been in operation for 10 years, the others are still in the pilot phase. Statkraft have built and put into production the first osmosis power plant at Hurumlandet in the Oslofjord.

Norway have natural advantages for production of ocean energy. The waves hitting the coastline contains vast amounts of energy, and the Norwegian Atlantic Current provides ice-free conditions and harvestable heat. The rivers flowing into the ocean can be used for osmotic power. The coastal communities have long maritime traditions, and therefore are well set to develop and build installations that can endure the forces from the ocean.

You can read more about the different types of energy and they harvesting technologies by following the links above.