45 – Designing our Future Power
Discovery Trail 45 (Tower A, entrance foyer, project insight panel)
Aqua Power Technologies developing Renewable Wave Power
The west coast of Scotland is home to some of the most powerful and consistent wave generating potential in the world. Despite 11,800km of coastline, and the possibility to produce 40-70KWh per meter, we currently use less than 1% of this free, powerful resource.
Renewable Wave Power (RWP) is attempting to remedy this situation with a new and efficient power take off structure. RWP, a semi-submersible multi-axis wave energy convertor, has the unique ability to absorb the power of the waves in any given direction. It uses loosely coupled pistons to reap power from tidal waters that flow unpredictably. This pressure is then stored and released at a capped limit into a motor that is connected to a generator. This is advantageous to those currently available, as they work best when struck by waves travelling in one direction and are less efficient in more turbulent seas.
Making the most of the free, renewable resource of wave power is growing evermore important in today’s society. Renewable Wave Power needs no fuel and, therefore, produces no waste, it’s not expensive to operate or maintain compared to traditional energy sources, and it can produce a great deal of energy from just the ocean’s natural wave patterns.
The designer of Renewable Wave Power, Sam Etherington, became the first contemporary engineer to be entered into the SEMTA Engineering Hall of Fame alongside historical figures, such as Isambard Kingdom Brunel himself. RWP has also won the Shell LiveWIRE Future Impact Award and the UK National James Dyson Award for 2013.