SDE: Breaking the Waves

The crash of the waves on the breaker or coast can be put to good use, says Israeli company S.D.E. Wave Energy, set to build the first wave energy harvesting power plant of its kind in Sri Lanka. Not to be confused with tidal power, wave power is the energy of ocean surface waves and harvesting that energy to generate electricity. Wave power generation is not widely employed, with only a few experimental sites in existence. ::See earlier TH roundup post on wave energy here.

TreeHugger spoke this week with Israel’s Chief Scientist for environmental affairs who recommended wave energy as one of the prospects the Israeli government is looking to invest in. We also spoke with S.D.E which has had an overwhelming response from countries in Africa, Asia, and South America—countries which have few viable options for generating sustainable energy. The US, they say, has showed very little interest in the company’s wave harvesting technology. According to a company press release S.D.E. recently began talks with Sri Lankan officials to construct and install a 200 MW power plant at an estimated cost of $130 million. If negotiations are successful, they say, the plant will be the first of its kind to
produce electricity at a commercial quantity from sea waves. Once the plant is completed and fully operated, an agreement is expected to be signed for the construction of more power plants on the island.

Sri Lanka has been experiencing a strong demand for electricity in recent years. Consumption of electricity has risen by 10% each year in the past five years and the national electricity company is looking for solutions to meet the increasing demand. A special report by the Ministry of Energy in Sri Lanka states that the government should immediately start planning and building power plants in order to avoid energy crisis similar to the one the country experienced in 1996. The report also recommends that priority should be given to production of electricity from renewable sources due to the accelerating cost of fossil fuels and the dangers of pollution.

The Scientist's Office in the Israeli Ministry of Trade and Industry has decided to promote environmentally friendly, pollution free alternatives to power that burn fossil fuels and is helping back S.D.E. to make wave power a viable alternative energy option.

The system, says S.D.E., is built on one side of wave gatherers, which can also serve as breakers. It is composed of a system of channels of hydraulic oil, whereby the rise of the pistons creates pressure on the hydraulic oil. This pressure activates a hydraulic motor, which contains a mechanism to cause continuity in the operation of the system, the hydraulic oil is accumulated in a pressurized container and is then directed toward a hydraulic motor. This energy turns the electrical generator, which produces electricity. For more see S.D.E website.