Monday, May 2, 2011

Protean power - affordable wave power ?

The Australian has an article on another wave power hopeful from Australia called Protean Energy, who are claiming dramatically low costs for their design - All’s swell for new wave energy.
THE Eureka moment for Perth inventor Sean Moore, 41, came when his Protean wave energy device achieved its sixth degree of freedom. The discovery gave Mr Moore's low-cost buoy system the greatest efficiency possible to generate electricity from harnessing the perpetual motion of the sea.

Unlike other wave power technologies that generate electricity from only one or two degrees of movement out of a possible six -- heave, surge, sway, yaw, pitch and roll -- Mr Moore's Protean device captures the lot. Based on well-known ocean buoy technology, it is easy to deploy, able to withstand rough seas and designed to operate on the surface, where the power of the ocean is greatest before falling exponentially with depth. ....

If the Protean buoy moves, it will generate electricity, desalinate water or perform a host of other functions for a lower cost than other wave technologies and solar and is comparable to other renewable energies.

A review of the technology by Sinclair Knight Mertz found the Protean system could generate electricity at 9.5c a kilowatt hour at the point of generation, which is competitive with wind. A five megawatt unit located in 150m of water 5km offshore can deliver electricity to shore at 17c a kW/h, which is competitive with offshore wind. This is still dearer than other baseload options such as coal or gas, but it is ideally suited for rapid deployment to remote areas and islands, which may now be paying as much as 60c a kW/h for electricity using diesel generators. ...

Protean chairman Paul Niardone said the firm would start selling the units to off-grid and fringe-of-grid applications. … "To a small coastal community, a 5-megawatt installation for 5000 houses can change the economics of the community. They can start new industry, they have got a means of revenue generation, they can sell back into the grid and subsidise other programs."

Cross posted from Peak Energy.

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