Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Tide Still Hasn't Turned for Wave Energy

The New York Times has an update piece on the state of wave energy technology. While more government and private venture money is being pumped into wave energy ventures, they are still hampered by the usual setbacks-- malfunctioning or damaged equipment, environmental and use restrictions, etc.

The Times notes that:

"Ocean power has more potential than wind power because water is about 850 times denser than air, and therefore packs far more energy. The ocean’s waves, tides and currents are also more predictable than the wind.

The drawback is that seawater can batter and corrode machinery, and costly undersea cables may be needed to bring the power to shore. And the machines are expensive to build: Pelamis has had to raise the equivalent of $77 million."

Also on the table is "ocean thermal" technology which relies not on the movement of water, but the difference in temperature between the surface and the deep.