Three Wacky Danish Wave Power Projects
Danish pilot looks to boost wave transformer with wind turbines. Graphic Floating Power Plant.
Portugal gets the distinction of having both the world's first commercial wave power plant, Aguçadoura Wave Park, which officially opened last month and is expected to grow to 21 MW of capacity - it currently has 2.25 MW of capacity or about enough to power 1,500 homes.
Danish wind leaders want to be wave power leaders, too
But the Danes, who pride themselves on being leaders in both using wind energy (more than 20 percent of their electricity is wind-generated) and in wind technologies, are trying to catch up with some wave energy (and even a unique combined wave-wind energy project). Currently the Danes have 12 "active" wave power projects. Hit the jump to see the Wave Dragon, Poseidon's Organ and the Wave Star.
1. Wave Dragon
The Wave Dragon, which looks like an extended ski jump ramp, is a wave power demonstration project on 1/4 the scale the developers eventually hope to achieve. Wave Dragon uses a hydro power concept: wave "reflectors" direct waves toward a ramp, behind which is a reservoir that stores the water until it is flowed over hydro turbines. The test site in Danish waters has been running for 20,000 hours - a 7 MW project is now planned off the coast of Wales. Because of the Portuguese government's proactive stance on wave power, a 50 MW project is planned there as well.
2. Poseidon's Organ
Since the spring of 2007, this 37-meter long wave power transformer (sans the turbines) has been under construction at Lolland in Southern Denmark, close to shore. It launched in August 2008. Floating Power Plant is now trying to get investors for a 230-meter-long platform that in addition to the oscillating water columns producing wave energy would also support three wind turbines, together to make enough electricity to support 12,500 households annually. Amazingly, Floating Power Plant is also hoping to put the first platform at a location in Portugal.
3. Wave Star
Though Wave Star is the hardest of the three to visualize, it may hold the most promise. A Wave Star platform cuts at a right angle into the wave motion, with floats partially submerged in the water. When a wave rolls in, the floats are lifted up one by one until the wave subsides. The rising float drives a piston which in turn powers a hydraulic motor connected to a generator. Wave Star's inventors believes this wave solution will be comparable in price to wind turbines and entail less materials use. Wave Star's prototype is installed on Denmark's northwest coast and has over 6,000 hours of operation - the next step is a 3 MW model. Via ErhervsBladet.dk (Danish) and WaveEnergy.dk (Danish)