Biological inspiration or biomimetics can help people think outside the box of human engineering. Dr. Tim Finnigan, CEO of BioPower Systems, has taken bio-inspiration literally in his pitch to create the bioWAVE™ and the bioSTREAM™. Both systems try to take advantage of the biophysical properties marine animals and plants have adopted for living in near shore wave and high flow environments. BioPower Systems is using their seed money to build prototype models in an effort to get these ideas to market within two to three years. The BioPower Systems website does a beautiful job of presenting the technology. For a review of how this might stack up in the quickly growing ocean power sector, keep reading.Both designs share the O-DRIVE™ and the bioBASE™ from the same company.
"The O-DRIVE™ combines a simple single-stage reciprocating gear mechanism with a direct-drive synchronous permanent magnet generator and high-inertia flywheel, resulting in continuous delivery of smooth AC power."
The omission of detailed technical specs for the O-DRIVE™ leaves me wondering if this was savvy withholding of information, or if there simply aren't any detailed plans. I'm hopeful the site will be updated soon with this kind of information.
What is not as clear is how this design self orients to the wave. As a fan shape in water, intuitively I would expect it to turn sidewise to the wave at times, and then stay in that direction, without generating energy- but maybe I’m missing something. The site also explains how it takes advantage of the entire column of water, but the actual benefit of this remains to be proven.
BioPower Systems addresses critical concerns of ocean energy generation not solved by other systems, but also throws out statements such as "lightweight biomimetics construction" without any further explanation. Despite this, I think the system has real possibilities. The vivid and compelling ideas capture the imagination, and it will be hard to wait another year or two before we can see if these ideas are more then just pretty pictures. ::BioPower Systems via World Changing ::Nature 'Mud Battery Stops Marine Rust'