Wave Power gets Smarter

Computer scientists at the University of Edinburgh are using clever software to improve the efficiency of a wave-powered generator. The machine consists of four tubes connected by hydraulic rams, which generate up to 750 kilowatts when extended and compressed by the movement of the water.

When the speed and frequency of the waves changes, the machine doesn't adapt particularly well, and this is what the researchers are focusing on. By using genetic algorithms which model evolution and natural selection, they have been able to 'breed' more efficient patterns of movement. This has been extremely successful, increasing the frequency of compressions and extensions over 6 times.

Three of these 'Pelamis' generators are installed off Portugal, and another four will be installed off Scotland next year. Hopefully this new research will be able to improve the output of the devices, and encourage more installations. :: New Scientist

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