wave energy

Mexican researcher helps develop new wave energy device

A Mexican researcher associated with the University of Manchester, UK, contributed to the development and optimization of a prototype that converts wave energy into electrical energy.

In an interview with the News Agency of the National Council of Science and Technology (CONACYT), Efraín Carpintero Moreno explained that the model could be up to eight times more efficient than the prototypes developed today.

The floating device is made of steel and use a hydraulic actuator, which activates an electric generator that performs the conversion of wave energy into electrical energy.

Moreno stressed that the benefit of this project is that it can increase efficiency and generate more electricity.

“Our prototype uses three oscillation modes to capture the energy potential contained in the surf for the production of electricity,” he explained.

The Mexican researcher said that with intellectual property issues there is little reliable data about the efficiency of existing prototypes, but data indicates that there is maximum efficiency of 7 to 12 percent.

Therefore, he added that the peak efficiency of his device, which generates the amount of electricity depending on the swell of the place, is 45 percent, four to six times more efficient.

Preliminary studies have been conducted to analyze the feasibility of installing this prototype off the coast of Ensenada, Baja California.

Moreno also said that the waves in this region have a range of up to about 1.5 and four meters in winter and between 0.5 and 1.5 meters in summer. In those conditions the device could generate an average of 1-2 megawatts in peak conditions just using the prototype model.

This amount could meet the demand for electricity of 100 thousand homes, depending on the type of housing, said the wave energy specialist.

He revealed that the estimated cost of this prototype would be more than 20 million pesos, which would be similar to the cost of wind power generation.

With this amount of power generated, the device is already becoming profitable because the cost of power generation would range between two and five pesos per kilowatt-hour, similar to the generation of electricity through fossil fuels unsubsidized price.

At present, this project is in plans and developed with researchers from Ensenada Center for Scientific Research and Higher Education (Cicese), Baja California.


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