Surge Wave Energy Converter

Our surge wave energy converter (WEC) transforms “shoaling” or “surge” motion of the waves near the shoreline into electricity. When the incoming waves pass through the WEC, the WEC flap rotates back and forth. The mechanical motion rectifier (MMR) transforms bidirectional pulse vibrations into the unidirectional rotation at relatively steady speed. Compared to other WECs, the MMR significantly increases the power output.

This technology not only generates power at a competitive price (less than $0.27/kWh) but also provides substantial benefits in coastal erosion protection (reduce 30% of the erosion) and disaster mitigation (provide emergency power at ~100 kW per unit). This new technology transforms the abundant but sometimes destructive ocean wave energy into usable, renewable electricity. As a result, people who live along the coast not only save electricity cost but also protect their properties from damage. Because it has no visual impact on the beauty of the shoreline, the technology has minimal impacts to the environment of seashore.

Experimental test

The above video shows a wave tank test of a 1:50 prototype. The wave energy harvesting device is mounted on the bottom and motivated by the waves.

The above figures plots the average and peak power outputs of the surge wave energy converter. The power output increase as the wave height increase.

MMR PTO vs Hydraulic PTO

Hydraulic power take-off (PTO) system are commonly used by other wave energy converters (WECs). The hydraulic system has several disadvantages: 1) low energy conversion efficiency (from wave energy to electric power) because of the big energy loss in the hydraulic system; 2) needing frequent maintenance for the hydraulic system ; 3) pollution risk of hydraulic fluid leakage.

Using the Mechanical Motion Rectifier based PTO system, our WEC named E-Wave can harvest 20% more wave energy, reduce 10% equipment cost and at least 20% maintenance cost, and have no risk of hydraulic fluid leakage, compared to other WECs using hydraulic system.

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