Spine-like floating device converts wave energy into electricity

SWEL Waveline Magnet Wave Energy to Electricity
The wave energy converter is designed to embrace the surface of the sea, or the ‘wave line’. Images © SWEL

With over 71% of the Earth’s surface being covered in water, one would assume it would be in humanity’s best interest to use it as a source for renewable energy. Sea Wave Energy Limited (SWEL), a UK company based in Cyprus, has been doing just that. For over 10 years the company has been developing a spine-like structure they call the ‘Waveline Magnet’. They have tested the device in wave tanks and live sea environments. The lightweight structure made from reinforced, recycled materials floats on top of the water and converts the power of waves into energy.

Affordable and undemanding

Thanks to its lightweight structure and simple design, the Waveline Magnet has an extremely low cost of manufacturing. In addition to this, the materials SWEL uses do not require specialized production lines or large manufacturing facilities, which lowers production and transportation costs significantly. According to SWEL’s website, Waveline Magnets are able to be mass produced and deployed within weeks!  Another advantage of its simplistic design is that the Waveline Magnet is able to be repaired and maintained with ease.

Unique and low-waste design

The floating structure is composed of a unique spine-like design, which acts as the central power system for the Waveline Magnet. The spine is able to flex and adapt with the motion of the waves, rather than having waves crash into it, lowering its potential of getting damaged. The design allows for a frictionless interaction no matter the weather or the wave conditions. Most of the structure has the ability to be made from reinforced, recycled materials, unlike other renewable energy options such as wind turbines or solar panels, which may contribute a high amount of material waste. This makes the new Waveline Magnet an even more environmentally friendly option than previous renewable energy technologies.

How the tech works

The Waveline Magnet is composed of flexible assemblies that are all linked together by the “spine” power system. The unique technology, under the right conditions (i.e., Neutral Displacement Theory), allows for waves to pass through the system and generate power as waves rise and fall. The wave energy converter is designed to be one with the surface of the sea, one moving mass with the waves themselves. This interaction allows for SWEL to regulate the amount of energy extracted from the waves.

SWEL Waveline Magnet Close Up View
Close up view of the floating Waveline Magnet.

High hopes and high potential

SWEL claims that the Waveline Magnet’s raw mechanical output is down to 1 pence per kilowatt hour. That output puts this amazing technology up to par with fossil fuels and other nonrenewable resources; a major advantage in the ongoing fight against climate change. Field studies have revealed that the bigger the wave power, the higher the amount of energy that can be harnessed. The company also states on their official website that the structure will “…create an annual market valued in excess of £10.7 Billion for the United Kingdom alone.” With that much potential profit, countries will have more incentive to invest in this technology.

Additional applications

The Waveline Magnet’s benefits don’t stop at harnessing energy for electricity production, as it also has the ability to harness energy for hydrogen production. The technology is so unique that the structure can be adapted into a floating hydrogen production plant. It’s also capable of desalinating water, which has the potential to provide drinkable water to even the harshest, most remote areas.

Next steps

The Waveline Magnet is still in its developmental stages. SWEL released their official prototype earlier this year and is planning on deploying one into the ocean with full grid connection within the next 5 years. The world of renewable energy eagerly awaits its newest member.

Check out the Waveline Magnet in action in the video below.

Source: SWEL