The sea can help generate eco-friendly energy-generating tangible amounts of power from a renewable source has been the aim of scientists for decades and the use of waves or tides has been an area that has resulted in numerous developments since safe sustainable energy will pay dividends to companies that develop an effective solution.
Advancements in both wave and tidal power solutions have made both methods viable but only when a serious investment has occurred.
Waves are caused by wind and as a result, site selection is of primary importance. A location is selected that has regular waves, as a wave power system without waves is useless. Once a suitable location is identified, then the preferred technology is put in place.
One method uses the waves to force air in and out of custom designed chambers, turning a connected turbine and thereby creating power. However, noise can be a problem with this method. In addition, as waves can be very destructive, durable equipment is necessary, and ongoing repair costs are a constant barrier to affordably developing this technology.
Tidal power is the most common method of obtaining power from the sea. Several methods are in use such as tidal stream generators (which convert the kinetic energy of the tide), tidal barrage generators (which use the potential energy between high and low tide), and tidal barrage generators (which gather energy in a way similar to hydroelectric dams) and dynamic tidal power generators. Dynamic tidal power generators are a theoretical solution and would involve the construction of ‘dams’ in excess of 30 kilometers in length.
Another innovative solution involving a chemical reaction between freshwater and saltwater is already proving effective, at least on a small scale. The reaction creates pressure, which would be used to power turbines. Known as osmotic power, the technology involves the use of membranes to increase pressure and is pioneered by a Norwegian company.
These membranes are expensive and produced by only a few companies. This presents cost issues that remain to be solved. However, research in making power from the sea is constantly advancing and more effective solutions are sure to be produced in the future.