The fundamental commodity produced by the Wave Swell Energy technology is electrical energy. Connected to the WSE turbine is an off-the-shelf generator, chosen for its compatibility with local grid requirements. Electricity is generated at whatever frequency and voltage is required for easy transmission into the grid.
The standard Wave Swell Energy OWC produces a peak power output of 1 MW. While moment to moment output is quite stable and constant, longer term variations in output occur as wave heights and periods change with weather conditions.
Desalinated water: A secondary product of the WSE technology is desalinated water. The power produced by the OWC can be used to operate an onboard or shore-based standard reverse osmosis plant. Alternatively, a pressure accumulator can be included as an intrinsic part of the OWC to directly drive the reverse osmosis process, resulting in a decrease in pumping overheads and an increase in overall process efficiency.
How it works
The technology of Wave Swell Energy is based on the well-established concept of the oscillating water column (OWC). An OWC is effectively an artificial blowhole. It is a large hollow concrete chamber, partially submerged and sitting on the seabed, and vented to the ocean through an underwater opening. The chamber also includes a small opening to the atmosphere above the water line, in which is housed an air turbine.
As wave crests and troughs pass the OWC, water enters and leaves the chamber through its submerged opening. This water rises and falls inside the chamber, causing the pressure of the air trapped above to oscillate between positive and negative pressure. These pressure fluctuations force the air to pass by a turbine at the top of the chamber, generating electricity as it does so.
The fundamental difference between the Wave Swell Energy OWC technology and that of other companies is that, via an ingenious conceptual difference, proprietary to the company, the WSE turbine is only exposed to air flow from one direction. This results in a much simpler turbine design, which is also more robust, more reliable, and at the same time exhibiting a higher energy conversion efficiency.
The only moving parts in the entire technology are the turbine and some simple off-the-shelf valves, all of which are well above the water line. There are no moving parts in or below the water. This means maintenance is only ever required to be performed on the easy-to-access regions well above the ocean.