From "down under" comes an idea and technology that creates sustainable electricity, down under the ocean. Headquartered in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, this innovative firm Wave Swell developed a proprietary "Uniwave" technology for creating electricity from water power.
"The WSE technology produces clean, sustainable electricity without the use of any oil or other contaminants. There are no moving parts in the water. The devices can be re-floated and towed to another location. This is an exciting development as waves are predictable, reliable and a naturally occurring infinite resource."
A naturally occurring infinite resource as a way to access clean renewable electricity in any waterway that has waves – seems like the most logical and optimistic approach to sustainability. Basically, it is a one-way pump valve re-structuring the oscillating water column (OWC) technology, the apparatus looks like a small boat.
"The OWC is an artificial blowhole consisting of a chamber that is open underneath the waterline. As waves pass the OWC, the water rises and falls inside, forcing the air to pass by a turbine at the top of the chamber. This turbine generates electricity."
With no moving parts underwater, the OWC is employed in a unidirectional manner, as opposed to bi-directional, making the technology simpler to use. Check out this short video demonstrating how the technology works.
Tasmania's King Island is the sight of the first OWC machine. As reported by Cosmos Magazine, "The island was this month named the overall winner of the 2022 Australian Sustainable Communities Tidy Towns Award for its determination to 'make the community a more sustainable place for the future', with specific mention of the role of Wave Swell Energy."
"From King Island's point of view, about 70% of our energy is renewable," according to King Island Mayor Julie Arnold. "This is a project that other islands around the world can learn from and become more sustainable. And the community is right behind it. The island is believed to be one of the only locations around the world combining three forms of renewable energy [wind, solar, water] to power the community." According to PV Magazine, the project "exceeded expectations with the test platform achieving conversion rates of up to 50% while supplying constant power to the island's hybrid microgrid for a full 12 months."
Contrary to the assumptions of capitalist thought that always wants to immediately scale big, the initial goal of the project was not to produce large amounts of electricity, "Rather, it was to prove the capabilities of our technology in a variety of wave conditions. The results have met and at times exceeded our expectations." One metric worth noting: "WSE said under the right wave conditions the 200 kW test platform is capable of generating enough energy for 200 homes."
Waves are predictable. This means that WSE technology can be part of an intentional sustainable approach to reversing the impacts of human-created climate change by creating new forms of energy production. Imagine wave electrical machines on the coastlines of the planet. Check out this 8-minute video about the project in general.