A different kind of wave power

September 26, 2011 5:13 pm News
Coast Radio News

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There are several efforts ongoing along the Oregon Coast to generate electricity using the power of the waves.  All of them, except one, use vertical buoys containing individual generators that utilize the bobbing motion to drive a piston up and down.  There is one that is different.  It’s called the “Oyster” and it’s in development by Aquamarine Power USA, the subsidiary of a Scottish Company that has come up with a different way to generate electricity.

Theresa Wisner — “It’s actually a pump. The Oyster is a very simple pump. Pistons force water in a closed loop, fresh water system, to the shore. We use a pelton wheel to actually generate that electricity with the forced water.”

As many as 20 of the 85-foot wide ‘paddles’ anchored to the sea floor would provide energy to each onshore generator.  Those in turn could provide power to about 200 homes.  Company spokesperson Theresa Wisner says the first test-deployment of three “Oysters” is about five years away.  The company is working on the preliminaries needed to obtain ocean floor leases with the Oregon Division of State Lands and install sensitive acoustic instruments to analyze wave patterns.

Theresa Wisner — ” Those will tell us about the wave resource. We need to do a multitude of other scientific studies to be able to prove that we are not going to cause damage to a lot of our local creatures.”

Wisner says each of the paddles weighs about 80-thousand pounds and would create local jobs.

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