Stage 2 is hard. Stage 1 of the Wave Energy Prize took some time, but only required describing our wave energy converter (WEC) in words and pictures. In Stage 2, we have to prove the concept works, both physically with the 1/50th scale model and computationally with numerical modeling. And the physical and computational results have to match. All of which is doable, and constitutes a normal part of the design development process.
What make is hard is that there are only two of us and we only have three months.
Today (9/30) is insurance day. By the Wave Energy Prize rules, teams are required to be covered by a general liability insurance policy. Ours was provided by Edward L. Sanders Insurance Agency, Inc. and funded by Enterprise Campus.
Our first thought was to write a post about the challenges of wave energy to help explain why it hasn't happened yet, but it seemed more positive to start with the advantages. Why are we pursing this anyway?
These are certainly not all, and they are not necessarily in order of importance, but some of the key benefits of wave energy are:
Chris and Cameron attended the European Wave and Tidal Energy Conference (EWTEC) in Nantes, France last week (6-11 Sept). EWTEC is probably the premier research conference on wave and tidal energy in the world. The picture above is from the Tour Bretange, the tallest building in Nantes.
We are planning on having a series of posts on our experience with and perspectives on the Wave Energy Prize. Please note that these are our own opinions and not those of the Wave Energy Prize or the U.S. Department of Energy.
We'll start simply: What is the Wave Energy Prize? and what do we do as a part of it?
Ocean waves are generated by wind, and large waves are the result of storms that have already occurred far out at sea. Large waves can travel long distances without losing energy from internal viscous effects (friction). However, waves do get smaller as they spread out laterally over the sea.
Wave generation and propagation can be predicted accurately with modern computer models that are often coupled with weather models. So, one can know days in advance what the wave conditions will be near the shore (at least for large waves from storms that have already occurred).
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These posts are intended to help people understand what it is we're doing.