Human settlements

Renewable energy

Wave 01: The power of the surf

Renewable Energy Commercialisation in Australia, Australian Greenhouse Office, 2003
NOTE: The status of these projects will have changed since the time of publication, and project contacts may also have changed.

The Energetech Wave Energy System overcomes the problems that have plagued previous attempts around the world to produce an economical and commercially efficient system for sourcing wave power.

The Energetech Wave Energy System overcomes the problems that have plagued previous attempts around the world to produce an economical and commercially efficient system for sourcing wave power.

Wave power

In favourable locations the energy density of surface waves can average 40 megawatts per kilometre of coastline, sufficient for economical wave-generated energy. More than 1,000 patents exist worldwide for wave power generators though few have reached prototype stage.

The Energetech technique focuses a wide wave front approaching the coast into a chamber using a parabola-shaped collector. This concentrates the energy and amplifies the wave height. The up and down motion of the water causes a rush of air forward and backwards through the chamber. The revolutionary all Australian designed Denniss-Auld turbine, which always spins in the same direction regardless of airflow oscillation, is not only significantly more efficient than previous turbines at converting energy into electricity but also reduces the problems of turbine stall.

A shoreline device that uses about 40 metres of coastline, the Energetech Wave Energy System is suitable for fairly deep water, as well as coastal sites such as harbour breakwaters, rocky headlands and cliffs.

Costing projections indicate that this energy will be highly competitive as a power source as well as being the most consistent of the 'intermittent' renewable energy sources. The prototype will produce electricity at around 15 cents per kWh; however, estimates of second-generation devices put production at between 5 and 16 cents per kWh depending on the local wave climate. This makes it as economical as wind power and cheaper than most forms of solar power. Many remote locations and island communities currently pay up to 60 cents per kWh for electricity derived from diesel.

Wave power also has enormous benefits for greenhouse gas reduction. The demonstration project itself will have sufficient power to service the requirements of around 150 households. With the support of the Port Kembla Port Corporation and the Wollongong City Council, preparations for the installation of the first generator are well under way. The system will have a peak capacity of 500kW and will save around 1,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas annually.

Energetech thinks that with Australia's competitive advantage in the industry in the medium term, there is huge export potential for sales of up to A$5 billion per annum on the world market. The projections indicate that within a decade wave energy devices could be globally producing the equivalent of 270,000MWh per annum of power, which would have a profound impact on total worldwide greenhouse emissions. Other projects using the Energetech technology in the UK, Spain, Canada, mainland USA and Hawaii are expected to follow closely on the success of the Port Kembla plant.

The superiority and applicability of the Energetech technology are already being recognised on a global scale. Energetech has recently secured investments from venture capital funds in Switzerland and the US. Expected investments in wave energy projects using the technology - and in Energetech itself - by some of the world's leading banks and companies are due to be announced in the near future. Energetech has also been selected by BC Hydro, the large electric utility in British Columbia, Canada, as a partner in developing a wave energy facility on Vancouver Island.

For more information please contact:

Dr Tom Denniss
Energetech Australia Pty Ltd
100 Frenchmans Road
Randwick NSW 2031
Tel (02) 9326 4237 or 0410 612 472
Fax (02) 9326 4237

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