1. How can wave energy help fix our current power crisis?
Regardless of the season, waves are generated year-round at all times of the day. This produces a potential for an unlimited zero-emission energy alternative or substitute for the current energy power plants, windmill technologies and solar panels.
According to the US Energy Information Administration, the US has been using wave energy to produce 66% of the country’s electricity and this number will continue to grow as fossil fuel shortages and oil prices continue to increase justify the need for this type of technology.
2. Why are there no energy companies utilizing wave energy at a larger scale?
Because other renewable energy sources are so far ahead in their development and research, companies are limited to the number of investors that might be interested in this type of technology. There are also negative economic returns for the investors at the moment, so this makes this technology less attractive. This provides a slow road for the development
Although the technology concept has been around since 1799, when the first patent was produced for this technology. It was not until recent decades that companies started taking a serious interest in this technology. Countries like Scotland, Portugal, Norway, USA, China, Japan, Australia, and India are starting to build structures to implement wave energy.
3. What should we keep in mind as engineers while we continue to explore this technology?
Even though this technology is projected to have the potential to provide electricity to the entire world, all regions of the country might not be able to be reached with this type of technology alone. There might still be a need for the conventional power plants to reach those regions that are far away from the coastal areas.
Although a very practical idea and technology, another thing that engineers need to keep in mind is that this technology comes with limitations just like any other. An engineer must be aware of what federal and state rules and regulations must be followed to protect marine life, where can this technology be used or located, and what obstacles need to be overcome to protect the investment against storms (hurricanes, tsunamis, etc.).
One thing that I always tell the engineers I come in contact with is to always keep the maintenance technician in mind when developing a new technology or when upgrading is due. What might look like a practical or easy maintenance procedure on paper might not be an easy task when being performed out at sea or underwater. And in addition to this, consulting experienced technicians and listening to what they have to say can pay off when it is time to go to the drawing board.
Wave energy: Can ocean power solve the global energy crisis? – reglobal – opinion & perspective. REGlobal. (2022, March 27). Retrieved December 14, 2022, from https://reglobal.co/wave-energy-can-ocean-power-solve-the-global-energy-crisis/#:~:text=Wave%20energy%3A%20can%20ocean%20power%20solve%20the%20global,world%20by%202050%2C%20says%20the%20International%20Energy%20Agency Links to an external site..
Rick. (n.d.). Wave energy. Ocean Energy Council. Retrieved December 14, 2022, from https://www.oceanenergycouncil.com/ocean-energy/wave-energy/