What are the Challenges In Wave Energy?

These are some of the challenges to deploying wave power devices:

  • Efficiently converting wave motion into electricity; generally speaking, wave power is available in low-speed, high forces, and the motion of forces is not in a single direction. Most readily-available electric generators operate at higher speeds, and most readily-available turbines require a constant, steady flow.
  • Constructing devices that can survive storm damage and saltwater corrosion; likely sources of failure include seized bearings, broken welds, and snapped mooring lines. Knowing this, designers may create prototypes that are so overbuilt that materials costs prohibit affordable production.
  • High total cost of electricity; wave power will only be competitive when the total cost of generation is reduced. The total cost includes the primary converter, the power takeoff system, the mooring system, installation & maintenance cost, and electricity delivery costs.
  • Impacts on the marine environment, such as noise pollution, could have negative impact if not monitored, although the noise and visible impact of each design varies greatly.
  • In terms of socio-economic challenges, wave farms can result in displacement of commercial and recreational fishermen from productive fishing grounds, can change the pattern of beach sand nourishment, and may represent hazards to safe navigation.
  • In the US, development of wave farms is currently hindered by a maze of state and federal regulatory hurdles and limited R&D funding.
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