Many of us studied geometry in grade school wondering how it would come in handy in our adult lives and our careers. Surely it was essential if you became an engineer, but for the rest of us, it only seemed applicable when taking standardized tests. Well now geometry has become a key factor when it comes to renewable energy, particularly in wave energy, that is, generating power from the force of ocean water.
Edinburgh Scotland based Mocean Energy aptly labels its technology, Green Energy Out of the Blue. Mocean designs and delivers wave energy converters to provide ocean equipment and the grid with clean, carbon-free, renewable energy.
When it comes to renewable energies, we tend to read less about wave power than, for example, solar, wind and even tidal power. Why? Because to date, there aren’t any commercially successful wave power devices. But Mocean Energy’s team has risen to the challenge by combining scientific principles with real-world experience, transitioning wave energy devices from a dream to a reality.
The ocean remains a tremendous, untapped resource for green energy, according to Mocean. In fact, harnessing a mere 1% of global wave power would power over 50 million homes and save over 50 million tonnes of CO2 per year.
Mocean is developing two wave energy technologies to tap into the power of the oceans’ waves:
The Blue Star, a device that will power a range of subsea equipment, inspection and maintenance systems.
The Blue Horizon, a larger unit that will generate grid-scale electricity.
Both technologies apply geometry to the equation by using a hinged raft which improves the performance of traditional hinged rafts by up to 300 percent. And it increases survivability by diving through the biggest waves.
Swimmers, Surfers & Ships
Perhaps the best way to describe this technology to the layman is to think of a swimmer in a surf zone. Many of us have experienced that scary scenario of swimming in an ocean when an approaching wave is about to churn and turn us to shreds, or at a minimum, resulting in a face-plant in the sand. Well, Mocean’s forward sloped geometric feature, called “wave channel,” not only improves power performance, but ensures the bow of the device always remains under water. It dives through the waves just like a swimmer would do in a surf zone.
Now for those of us that have a passion for boating, think of it this way. The Mocean technology causes the device to do just the opposite of what a ships does. Whether you have a skiff or a yacht, when confronting a large wave, the boat tends to get lifted from the water and then slam on re-entry. This effect is particularly common when the boat is not optimally loaded. But Mocean's technology avoids this scenario by steering the machinery under water, all via geometry.
Essentially, Mocean is developing an offshore renewable micro-grid that, combined with subsea batteries, allows for greater energy storage without facing constraints of weight and space, thus providing a level of redundancy with a range of applications.
This is just the start to tapping into eath’s tremendous and powerful resources without causing harm in the process. Let's keep moving foward with R&D and investments in what can potentially preserve both our planet and its inhabitants. After all, we're all in this together.