Our 2020 vision
Our planet is transitioning to a low carbon future in which clean, renewable electricity powers our daily lives. The ocean’s waves hold the power to generate renewable electricity for communities, towns and cities across the world.
Waves can join the wind and sun as a reliable, affordable, clean energy resource, with Europe’s shores alone having the potential to bring electricity to 230 million people, almost half the homes in the EU.
The global wave energy resource can only be described as ‘vast’ with the potential, even if only partially exploited, to significantly reduce dependency on fossil fuels and carbon emissions.
We want to see large undersea wave farms built at sea from 2020, increasing year on year as demand for clean power grows.
Potential to change the world
The total wave resource across the globe is as much as 80,000 TWh / year, out of which up to 4,000TWh / year is considered economically exploitable. The total global electricity consumption is circa 21,000 TWh / year. This is set to potentially double by 2050.
With a practical wave resource of 50tWh available within the surrounding oceans of the UK alone, the United Kingdom has a unique opportunity to become a global leader in the development of wave energy technology.
That is a significant proportion of the wave energy available globally and equates to 35% of Europe’s wave energy generation potential alone.
Marine Power Systems in on course to be the world leader in the capture of wave energy and make this opportunity become reality.
Harnessing the power of the ocean
Over 800 times denser than air, water is the most abundant resource on our planet.
The world’s oceans, which cover more than 70% of the earth’s surface, are a highly concentrated clean energy resource.
The ocean holds the sun’s energy, transferred to water by the wind. Waves are generated through a transfer of energy from the wind blowing across the water’s surface.
The size of a wave depends on how strong the wind is, how long it has been blowing, and over what distance.
Waves can travel through the open ocean for hundreds, or even thousands of miles, with very little loss of energy, making oceans a very rich source of power.
Wave power is generated by capturing the rolling orbital movement of seawater under the surface of a wave.
Waves can be captured to generate power near the shore, at mid-shore or far offshore, many miles from the coastline.
The orbital movement under waves tends to be larger and more powerful far off-shore, where the water is deeper. It is here that the WaveSub is designed to operate.
The renewable energy sources comparable to wave energy are wind energy and solar energy. Wave energy has two main advantages compared to these energy sources: energy density and consistency.
Wave Energy Density
Wave energy is essentially condensed wind energy which in itself is essentially condensed solar energy. Solar energy reaches the Earth’s surface with a time averaged power density of 0.1-0.3 kW per m2. As this is converted to wind energy the average power density increases to around 0.5 kW per m2 of area perpendicular to the wind direction. As wind energy creates waves, the power density increases further to around 2-3 kW per m2 of water perpendicular to the wave direction.
In less scientific terms, this increase in energy density can be thought of in the following way: the full intensity of midday tropical sun can be blocked by a parasol, whilst all but the worst of winds can be resisted by an ordinary building. Harbours, however, require sea walls many meters thick constructed from thousands of tons of rock to resist the energy of waves!
Wave Energy Consistency
One of the advantages of harnessing power from waves is their consistent and relatively predictable supply of energy. Waves have the ability to travel long distances with little loss of energy. This means that many sites for wave farms will receive a steady flow of waves created by winds out at sea, even when there is little or no local wind. Wave energy is also easier to forecast than wind energy, allowing for better integration into power grids. Typically, wave sizes can be accurately forecasted around 3 to 5 days in advance.