The oceans cover nearly three quarters of Earth's surface with water film 139.4 million "square" miles in breadth and average depth of 2.4 miles, a delicate fraction of earth's 7,914 mile diameter. The dynamic hydrogen oxygen hydrosphere, churning toward calm of equilibrium between air, fresh precipitation, and salty evaporation, is a continually self-balancing flux agent common to celestial and terrestrial forces. Waters respond in direct synergetic reaction to impingements from asymmetric gravitational rotations of heavenly bodies coupled with climatic effects of the sun's energy upon spherical surface, subsequent flows of thermal and pressure gradients, continuous motion of winds and clouds, seismic activity, and large school movement. Its currents and eddies cause tertiary movements that merge, combine or cancel, to circulate surface disturbances over wide range of amplitude from a smallest ripple to rogues and the biggest tsunami. Primarily caused by interaction of winds with the hydroface, water wave incidence at deep ocean sites is several times the energy at adjacent coastal locations. Performance measures are characterized by oscillating low frequency energy regularly transporting unimpeded for several miles, large storm forces, and irregular variation over wide range of wave size, length, period, direction, and duration. Prevailing energetic wavescapes are generated from at least two directions of procession that form predominantly parallelogramic and triangular interference undulations. At depths below such activity, pressure and viscous shear reduce orbital, trochoidal, water particle motions to equilibrium. Incessant troughs and crests passage over particular ocean point imbibes consistent changes in vertical distance. Given this continually motive source, all that is needed to satiate an increasing need for humanly useful energy are properly located electrical and support apparatus. Any system that harmoniously converts for use and lets these energies restore to original form may be deemed perpetual for as long a time as its apparatus is operative. Perpetual motion systems are distinct from alleged perpetual motion machines. They are comprised of interchangeable components that, if fail, are replaced with negligible effects to overall operation. Thus, friction and wear take their special case tolls without toil to a comprehensive modulated ocean wave energy conversion system.
Deeper ocean waves move horizontally across a plane. Their motion causes vertical orbital turbulence in substrata to depth corresponding with the size and period of the wave. Pressure beneath and viscous shear diminish water particle motion. Relative movement between two spherical buoys reveals significant change from effective wave motion. Considering one buoy, floating at hydroface with a rod attached to it, and another neutrally submerged buoy, with a tube attached to it, suspended at essentially undisturbed strata by an air to weight ratio- the volume of contained air to the weight of its container plus the attached tube: ocean wave passage reciprocates the rod inside the tube. However, horizontal wave forces push the floating buoy away from the submerged buoy and hamper natural return to vertical position. If another rod, with a weight mass secured on one end, is attached to the bottom of the submerged buoy (with mass subtracted from the original buoy mass) a self-righting air to weight configuration is achieved. Balance remains tenuous. A most stable assembly is obtained if the width of the weight is greater than the submerged sphere diameter. The arrangement simply resembles a cone having apex pointed in an upward direction. A lower damper base is not unlike the rotated stance of a defensive boxer preparing to receive a punch. With regard to readily manufactured components, this conical form translates to the general shape of connectable tetrahedron modules. Distributed power generation means convert water wave fields to electricity.
May, 1982 wave tank tests of three OWEC® Ocean Wave Energy Converter working models observed mechanical and electrical operation in controlled hydrodynamic conditions. Models were placed near the middle of the tank and flotationally suspended in water with the buoys partially submerged and the rest of the structure totally submerged. Additional weights were distributed on module damper plates to achieve neutral buoyancy at preferred working depth. As each wave passed, the buoys were raised and lowered thus moving portions of LEG linear electrical generators up and down within tubes. The tubes and other generator parts were maintained relatively stationary by the damper plates which strongly resisted vertical motion due to their placement at a depth where water particle movement from waves was essentially attenuated. The damper plates also countered structure tendency to drift off station. LEG reciprocation produced electricity from waves ranging 1" to 5" height. Although output was slightly below scale, waves that engaged the structure were only 30% of optimal design levels. The apparatus functioned as intended and measurable electrical energy was generated from wave motion. This first test proved the concept and disclosed valuable considerations for OWEC® development.
While promising, wave tank tests also revealed deficiencies. Non-resonant buoy actuation delay was promoted by high center of buoyancy and lack of tangential surface resistance to water particle motion. This condition indicated deriving possibly improved wave following capability from partially submerged buoy shapes having low centers of buoyancy and maximal planar contact with the hydroface. Fully submerged, however, these configurations typically embody added mass forces. A most efficient hybrid buoy shape incorporates smooth laminar flow and maximal buoyancy within design parameters. Whereas inclined reciprocation axes operated favorably to expand buoy capture distance, by allowing simultaneous absorption of both the vertical buoyancy force and horizontal time component of buoy/wave crest engagement with respect to wave procession, using buoy displacement for directly raising and lowering associated linear electrical generators caused wave-reciprocation frequency matching problems. Often, time delay shortened or nullified generators reciprocation due to their antiphasal movement with ambient wave fields. Although energy conversion was very direct, power generation was diminished during stroke reversal and start-up. Enhanced electrical output is obtained by relocating and improving generator components. The sacrifice of any peak value electrical outputs of the linear generator configuration should be acceptable in comparison to advantages of efficient output produced by a contemplated and proposed electromechanical assembly.
The experiment evolved with construction of a breadboard built to add real hardware to the analytical part of this project. Loss factors are difficult to accurately assess and baseline operations of breadboards can shed much light on the problem. Also, integrated parts behavior and sizing are more easily understood and debugged. The board is provided an aluminum sheet for precisely affixing and changing energy converting components as transmission, flywheel, or generator. A wave simulator servo system controls driveshaft reciprocation length and frequency. Means for simulating effective buoyancy and gravity forces were required due to horizontal driveshaft attitude. A simulator of consideration would implement two springs, in series, acting on the driveshaft. One non-constant spring replicates a buoy under varying conditions of partial submergence and a constant spring models the weight of driveshaft and buoy. Instead, varying weights sling suspend from scaffold and connect to driveshaft end. A block and tackle reduction configuration is connected from the other driveshaft end to the post on a drive disk and motor. The vertically affixed motor axle is mounted with a horizontal disk having several holes, in radial alignment from hub to rim, for carrying a post. Placement of the post in a certain hole provides specific radius that translate disk rotation to sinusoidal motion and particular ranges of driveshaft stroke lengths (5.5' maximum). Reciprocation frequency is calibrated and speed adjusted over a range of simulated wave period. During wave simulation tests, it was quickly discovered that the motor was under powered. The simulator reduction ratio, flywheel, and generator wielded large forces on the system. In particular, the selected transmission was overscaled and exerted much drive train resistance. Maximum driveshaft travel could not be sustained at extreme settings. The unloaded axle, downstream of transmission and without generator attached, resulted in rotation speeds to 70 rpm but could achieve only 20 rpm when the generator was in line. In final runs, the transmission was eliminated to directly connect the flywheel to generator. More favorable operation enabled electrical generation tests of 16-32 inch height waves. Operational data provides power output values for modifying the design program. Program development has capability to correlate equations of motion for ocean wave height, length, period, and celerity for plotting vertical hydroface velocity. Additionally, the sums of fundamental, secondary, and tertiary wave heights, etc. are described. Further development characterized effective forces of different buoy shapes, inclined driveshaft reciprocation relative to various wave procession directions, transmission calculations, and electrical output.
OWEB Ocean Wave Energy Web drawing shows operation of interconnected OWEC® modules. Submerged portions are suspended at depths permitting full reciprocation of buoys and respective driveshafts. Optional damper plates may be used as sea anchors so that only light bottom, slack mooring is required to keep an array at a particular station. Wave activity on buoys induces relative motion between driveshafts and remaining module portions to drive electrical generators. Output is additively combined, within each module housing, and interconnected with other modules to culminate at terminals.
Manufacture and installation of several different module sizes are envisioned to accommodate the range of all ocean waves. Electrical products are simply multiplied with the size and number of OWEC® in a module array. Over random wave conditions at selected sites, for example, output of one particular size OWEC® = x watts, 10 OWEC® = 10x watts, 100 OWEC® = 100x watts, and so in continuance. In broad OWEB arrays of all proportions and quantity, module interconnection synergy improves stability and ballast control of submerged portions, large area ocean wave mapping for optimally "pretuning" modules to oncoming forces, and long distance power transmission techniques of a comprehensive OWEB network. Accordingly, total power production may be efficiently regulated over vast OWEC® fields.
OWEC® Ocean Wave Energy Converter applies to several conventional and emerging technologies. Intensifying electrical demand is predicted, initially with small-scale use, for assisting or replacing prime charging sources of discrete marine aids to navigation, environmental monitoring instrumentation, or like installations requiring in situ electricity. OWEC® power supply for wide commercialization supports resource exploration, recovery, and processing facilities in diverse fields such as oil, gas, mineral, fishery, aquaculture, and very large-scale desalination and electrolysis operations.
OWEC® Ocean Wave Energy Converter was invented during architecture school "Ocean Habitat" studio. Designs were developed from ocean research structures along hydroface or in the water column to sea floor. Water-ballasted bodies are variably positioned with electromechanical or chemical assistance. Some have diving and bottom walking ability. Power supply development included ocean wind though abandoned in favor of denser wave energy. Decision was made, 1978, to forego on or near shore location and primarily utilize offshore and deep ocean wave interaction with floating and neutrally suspended bodies. Other developers and OWECO since participated with FERC Federal Regulatory Energy Commission and MMS Minerals Management Service (now BOEM Bureau of Ocean Energy Management) to help define area jurisdictions and assess environmental impact of "alternative" US activity on outer continental shelves. Recognized, in the winnowing process, is that minimizing or excluding on and near shore technology maintains natural coastal processes, freedom of navigation or other use, and clear visibility. While discrete near shore use will occur, large-scale Ocean Wave Energy Webs may best deploy in exclusive economic zones and expand to deep-ocean. Ideally, closest edges to land are just slack moored with diminishing investment toward seafloor- where costs are higher. Inter-array sea lanes permit servicing and module transport. Such remote sites have consistently high energy density and vast areas provide wide planes of hydroface activity. In plan, secondary and tertiary cross-driven undulations approximate curved parallelogram and triangle patterns. Direct conversion of active interference wavescapes is achieved through horizontally melding open structures. Minimum systems of hydroficient units are quick connected to co-form octet octahedron-tetrahedron trusses. Unit neutral buoyancy accommodates module-to-module self-support for quantity distribution. Open web networks of spaced-apart bodies convert multi-directional wave loads where they instantly occur while also enabling wave generation within interior areas. Proximate buoys may absorb reflected or regenerative waves and distribute system stress. The arrangement delimits individual buoy power range for close matching generator properties and permits buoy response to smaller waves. Connector tolerances allow some flexure to help radially diffuse concentrated loads in the octet structural matrix. Scale variation of truss size, module height, and buoy size may correspond to all range of wave conditions.
1980 patent is a tetrahedron module. Independent wave driven buoy shafts move magnets up and down through coils in tubes. Counter-wound coil sets are interspersed between tube bearings. A second coil set is not shown (Development, Slide 2). Tube bearings provide sliding contact with spacers between like pole facing magnets. Lower damper plates provide sea anchor to stabilize buoyancy chamber and coils. Buoy wave reciprocation generates electricity. Output is rectified to direct current and additively combined between module generators and with quick-connect tubes to generators of other modules. Various educational and commercial entities since proposed similar LEG linear electrical generator topologies. But individual rigid moored and seafloor concepts seem impractical. Despite longtime Internet presence and other reference, several parties were apparently unaware of OWECO’s thirty-two year technology precession. While duplication at government-funded university level is educational and confirms OWECO’s path, efforts could be steered toward examining current developments of new work. Though linear generators very directly convert reciprocal motion, each reaches zero stage per half stroke. The design requires excessive magnetic material so that some magnets always correspond to coils during wave passage. An opposite arrangement renders the same result. Another inherent problem is direct support of magnet or coil weight with buoyancy force. Such attributes diminish efficiency. OWECO's four-year experience with linear generators evolved with translation of intermittent reciprocating motion to continuous rotary motion and supporting generators in neutrally buoyant housing.
1987 patent discloses reciprocating rack and counter rotary axle gear within buoyancy chambers. Clutch converts bi-directional motion to continuous unidirectional motion of flywheel, transmission, and generator. Gear pitch diameter effects rotations per stroke, torque, and flywheel effect. Force bias is toward upstroke buoyancy using relatively large flywheel generators. Separate, smaller flywheel generators operate from downstroke buoy and shaft material weight. While slightly less directly driven, primary advantages are sustained movement, fewer and more commercial parts, and neutrally supported generator weight is independent of buoyancy force. OWECO performed a U.S. Coast Guard contract under the Small Business Innovation Research program. A small full-scale breadboard experiment took input from a variable wave and buoy simulation motor. The power train included linear to rotary converter, adjustable mass flywheel, variable gear ratio transmission, generator configurations, and load. Mechanical simulation of wave properties and electrical output established data power points and scaling factors for descriptive computer models. Drive train resistance confirmed that operational simplicity is essential.
Since 2000, OWECO hosts international engineering interns working on several computational fluid dynamic and structural analyses. Forthcoming engineers will examine electromechanics related to large buoy dynamics. The buoy is first interface between hydroface and OWEC® units. Two general states exist when a wave-following buoy is partially submerged, when it is totally submerged, and whether it is traveling up or down. With respect to electrical generation and other loads, different conditions apply to upward buoyancy and downward gravity forces. An ideal buoy displaces maximum amount of water as quickly as possible while flowing through the water with least resistance. OWECO prior intuitive work with sphere, hemisphere, and modified cylinders confirmed that added mass from turbulence can exert substantial negative pressure. Beyond sphere, two buoys seem promising. Conical, and particularly, bi-conical spheroid shapes show remarkably improved flow efficiency.
The cone shape is adaptable to predominantly long period waves in which most buoy portions extend above hydroface. When near fully submerged, its considerable displacement enhances buoyancy force to compensate slower velocity and drag. Within design parameters, however, an asymmetric relation to reciprocation axis may at times exert large gyration loads on the driveshaft. The fish-like Tetras buoy eliminates twisting stress about the driveshaft due to its axial symmetry. This buoy is most effective near full submergence in active seas. Although buoyancy volume is less than the cone buoy, its reduced weight and efficient form flow enable quick reactions and faster velocity. The net force may be equal or greater than the cone while comprising fewer materials. Buoy strength to weight is further improved using composite thin shell walls reinforced with interior foam lining and balloon framing members.
In addition to hydrodynamics, OWEC® optimization relates to timely implementation in factory, overland transport, or waterborne vessel to accommodate greater storage quantity per delivery trip. The modular system permits high volume component manufacturing and deployment options. Large buoy and air chamber parts are shaped for close-pack nesting and methodically repetitive quick dis/assembly techniques. Another example is bayonet mount driveshaft racks using slip-fit connections. Module base connectors are made of space-saving nesting tubes that form strong corners when assembled. Lock pins provide two way edge or three way interior connections with other module bases. Mating tolerances allow adjustment of overall truss flexibility and force dispersion. Connectors are supplied with redundant security features and shock absorbers to dampen impact loads from downward shaft and buoy movement. Overtopping waves on buoys induce maximum downward forces but they are relatively low. Though shown as springs, a variety of resilient absorber materials may be implemented including entrapped seawater.
2008 patent includes above considerations and third direct drive generator design for increasing relative speed and power efficiency with substantially reduced materials. The configuration is symbiosis of our previous designs and improved components that integrate flywheel effect in both reciprocation directions. Heavier components activate from buoyant upstroke, lighter parts counter-rotate from downstroke buoy and driveshaft gravity, and still other parts are stationary. Total energy extraction is actively optimized by maintaining buoys near full submergence through all stages of passing waves. Also of note, a new gearbox has one protected interior water seal that eliminates prior shaft bellows and associated suction. Located near module apex, buoyancy chamber maintains neutral buoyancy and houses power generation and control equipment. Chamber walls are supported at non-vertical angles for directing some wave laminar flow toward buoys. Upper and lower portions are edge sealed and affixed to a chassis comprising gasketed top and bottom plates. Plates are conjoined by central core and tube elements forming a very strong non-intersecting tetrahedron. Air chamber composite wall strength is augmented with interior partitions separating ballast bladders from electrical generator equipment, buoyancy control pumps, and desiccant. Sensing controls activate pumps to adjust the amount of seawater in bladders thereby maintaining module working depth. Preferably, two-part buoyancy chambers are factory sealed and guaranteed.
2014 patent improvements include electrical generator and ballast designs, further integration of commercial components, and manufacture/deployment processes.
The 1954 Dymaxion Air Ocean World Map was chosen to plot OWEC® Ocean Wave Energy Converter networks. Conceived 1936 by R. Buckminster Fuller, this important representation should supercede Mercator projection maps, especially, in all classrooms. Fold-in World globe is an icosahedron of twenty equilateral triangular facets having just 5% distortion from spherical accuracy. Fold-out map configures two preferred ways- a One World Ocean or One World Island. 1960's World Game workshops refined a unified HVDC high voltage electrical transmission grid, yellow lines, to efficiently smooth power distribution as the World turns. OWEB Ocean Wave Energy weBs may form new landfall HVDC power connections that obviate or augment cross-continent transmission.
Partial Asia scheme concentrates on HVDC, gas, and bottom laid or suspended inter-OWEB lines. Smaller triangle networks are superposed to show most possible OWEC® deployment areas. In actual use, large quantity OWEC® fields are arranged within triangles to provide essentially "porous" OWEBs over several miles. Major shipping lanes and national waters are omitted from the grid to retain the oceans' great expanses. Minor shipping lanes and open areas maintain freedom of movement. Additional exclusion zones may include horse latitudes, MPA marine protected areas (Google Earth> Ocean layer> check Marine Protected Areas), Cetacea distributions and breaching grounds. OWEB configurations can provide physical boundaries, to limit human endeavor about region margins, while also enhancing shading and some extent of biogrowth on its lattice-like structures and moorings. With careful implementation, including low operating noise, electrical shielding, and benign materials or coatings, such attributes can invigorate dead zones and health of adaptive habitat that counter present trends toward species overfishing and extinction.
One guiding principle is technology imprint in hitherto pristine region, or existing structures expansion, intrinsically changes the environment. During take-up of ocean wave energy conversion to electricity, fresh water, and hydrogen, care must be exercised to "leave clean trails" with least negative impact of tests, early deployments, and failures among the wide variety of proposed technologies. Some developers identified prime project sites, having consistently energetic waves and/or proximity to favorable venue, that have been widely obvious for long duration. Competing site claims, or rancor over duplicative support operations such as data collection, cable laying, or anchorage may drive up false cost, produce waste, and divert time from implementation. A type of hestorical debacle should not be repeated- by analogy, the construction of transcontinental railroad tracks closely passing opposite directions several miles to get additional contract payment. Appropriate development is instead embraced by a "nursery" approach for utilizing minimum number of early identified prime sites off a country's seaboards. The test beds can help manage technology verification, comparison, and monitoring. Government/industry participation, provision, or cost share of common support reduces assessment variables and improves standards development. Additionally, oversight would account equipment installation, monitoring, and recovery where, for example, hardware, mooring, power transmission line, etc. may be otherwise stranded debris due to developer insolvency. From such nurseries, successful (perhaps certified) technologies could be assured. The UK "Wave Hub", in concept public provision of common electrical socket to disparate private entities, approaches the required first steps for practically developing regional ocean resources. After some period, it is assumed successful technologies will break out from test beds and expand in other venue. At such time, results of the current dialogue regarding individual tract leases will have further progressed toward standard practice. To such extent as possible, some desirable venues may be near decommissioned oil and gas structures. In addition to utility for establishing reefs, as the Rigs to Reefs program, rig foundations can be modified to provide superb moorings.
Ocean waves are predictable ten days in advance of arrival at particular locations. OWEB world map helps manage data links between near real time wave energy reporting buoys and OWEC® electric power generation. As grids expand, OWEB telemetric devices report point-to-point hydroface and module conditions. In this manner, adaptive SCADA Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition functions develop as extensions of the Internet web. With working growth of real and virtual realms, the OWEB map becomes practical SCADA template for accurately monitoring deployment techniques and controlling OWEC® site configurations, weather and wave field mapping, electrical conditioning, and environmental factors. In 2014, US Department of Energy promoted open source development of such functions. Accurate correlation to resource equivalents of diverse interest may provide the electrical product of the number of modules required to power remote equipment or off-grid regions, purify water, electrolytically produce hydrogen and oxygen, and projections of fresh water supply, sea level management, and attendant hydrocarbon pollution abatement in a World water-based "hydrogen economy". US Vice President Al Gore, author of Earth in the Balance, 1992, then stated "a global energy network makes enormous sense if we are to meet global energy needs with a minimal impact on the world's environment. Such advances in long distance transmission may even make possible Buckminster Fuller's vision that Eastern and Western hemispheres be joined by cable to assist each other in managing peak energy demand, since the high daytime use in one hemisphere occurs at precisely the low night time consumption by the other". OWEB Ocean Wave Energy weB interconnections will manifest this illumination (also here) with minimal line loss.
I.L. Roberts’ 1881 U.S. Patent 250,104 describes a machine for utilizing the power of water waves. This modular system of discrete reciprocating buoys with racks transmits torque to corresponding pinion gears mounted on common rotating axle. If general utility then developed to flourish, concurrent with early stages of electrification and 22 years after oil was first uncovered in Titusville, Pennsylvania, perhaps would be minimal, allayed, or absent the deleterious results of subterranean fossil hydrocarbon retrieval, exploitation, and aerosolized dispensation within Earth’s biosphere. 97 years later, the OWEC Ocean Wave Energy Converter was conceived when inflated world market prices of refined petroleum, derivatives, and dependence on oil imports were perceived deterrents to domestic sovereignty. OWEC® applies to several conventional and emerging technologies. Commercial utility of wide range may first be promoted in relatively small-scale application. Intensifying electrical demand is predicted for assisting or replacing prime charging sources of discrete marine aids to navigation audiovisual signaling, environmental monitoring instrumentation, and like installations requiring in situ electricity. Off-grid power systems and autonomous techniques are needed to supplant present electrical generation methods that depend on regeneration from land-based sources. The practice of using non-renewable fuel or battery-powered equipment, for example, requires repeated service and component replacement operations during a performance period. While solar panels have been phased in to account for more specialized requirements, clouding and salt deposition effects remain problematic over large-scale ocean deployment. Costly maintenance frequency is extensively reduced when utilizing indigenous power supply from efficient mechanisms that convert water wave hydrokinetic energy. Once deployed, wave energy conversion apparatus require no fuel or emissions retrofit. No hydrocarbon, particulates, CO, CO2, Nox, or SO2 air pollutant waste streams are generated. Electrical energy for wider commercialization supports off-grid communities or resource processing facilities such as fishery, aquaculture, and environmental restoration. Sheltered structures provided by certain wave energy systems can intrinsically support biogrowth and habitat development. Far reaching deployment of vast OWEC® installations is anticipated to capacitate industrial activities that harmoniously utilize bounty of the world's oceans. Toward power, water, and climate management related to broad desire for using environmentally cyclable fuel, impending critical needs are satiated with large-scale water purification and hydrogen gas production. OWEC® modules symbiotically function as macro electrolyzers and aerohydrators that help regulate sea level. Wave energy can be used for pumping liberated oxygen to reinvigorate ocean dead zones. By this form of seawater sequestration, OWEC® Ocean Wave Energy Converter can help mediate both the hydrologic causes and symptoms of climate change.
Humanity's growth to over 7 billion people, at nearly 95 million per year, adds over one million people every 4 days. Predictive models conclude that 10 to 11 billion, with double today's protein needs, will inhabit Earth by 2050. That may be low. Absent of humility, swelling masses of 98.6° Fahrenheit people, petroleum by-product emissions, and attendant "meaningful life activities" defer natural accountability to false economies of easy open-ended emissions practices. Some regions exhibit extreme degradation in the form of perpetual auto and stack excretions hanging in the still, 115° Fahrenheit, air. Vehicle owners cheaply obtain automotive inspection stickers without inspector scrutiny. "Interests abroad" export messy production methods to those countries with lax environmental regard. Well-documented, more understood, industry contested effects of past century combustive endeavors, effluent from more than 1 billion automotive vehicles, manufacturing process, and improperly disposed plastic flow of limited or trivial function consumables are evidenced throughout oft ill colored atmosphere, troposphere, and hydrosphere. Though discharge from specific industrialized areas relatively pale or exceed and natural seafloor oil vents contribute to the mix, overall, humanity is scraping by on hacks and coughs of a petroleum addiction that seemingly won't abate until dry reserves.
Since measurements began in 1970, genocidal worldwide hydrocarbon combustion and other deleterious by-product effluents now release up to 2 million pounds CO2 carbon dioxide per second. The abuse symptomatically contributes to CO2 expansion and pollution settlement in a gaseous greenhouse ceiling that is measurably choking the biosphere while letting in more of the sun's heat than is reflected. There is some contention that only past CFC chlorofluorocarbon emissions are most significant contributor. Perhaps each conjecture inadequately describes the toxic soup. Nevertheless, earthward descending particulates, runoff, and spillage adsorbed and absorbed in the hydrologic cycle are cause of worldwide decline in water quality- 50% for fresh water and 30% for salt water. Predicted are rampant fresh water shortages in less than 40 years. Within specific regions, changing elements disrupt life cycles and bleach coral (also NOAA Google Earth Reefs kml layer ). Possible factors include increased ultraviolet radiation through the thinning ozone layer, climate change, and endocrine disrupting chemicals that cause deformities and interfere with reproduction. Even during relatively short-term study, estimations merit continuous revision as populations of more delicate organisms indicate accelerating debility. For example, "All amphibian biologists are now convinced that something unusual and catastrophic is happening to amphibians. We also think the amphibians are telling us humans something has happened to the habitat we share with the frogs," stated Ron Heyer of the Smithsonian Institution. "In some sites we are actually witnessing the decline as we try to study it," said Gary Fellers, a research biologist with the U.S. Geological Survey. Cutting into nature's subtle dance, changing global surface temperature and thermohaline trends manifest currently observable phenomena as shifting climate zones producing increased force and frequency of extreme storm weather and precipitation intensity. Floods reduce wetland acreage and expand sediment and nutrient flows causing adverse impacts on water quality, aquatic habitat, and reduced crop yields. Such climate forcing may precede eventual atmospheric dissolution leading to intolerably fast and wide climate variation.
For numerous years, the IPCC Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change sought to qualify climate change symptoms and whether induced by anthropogenic human activity or natural cycles. Indeed, rock-embedded marine fossils are at quite high elevation of the Atlas Mountains and Antarctic moss are revived after 1,500 years under ice. IPCC workshops focus on methods for estimating past and current global conditions and projecting trends. Assorted models use reference frames to apportion complicated calculations including solar radiation, global surface temperature/pressure, plant growth, carbon cycles, aerosols, salinity transport cycles, volcanic activity, Earth rotation, and other factors such as seasonal radiative forcing by oceanic whitecaps. During participation with the 2002 workshop, and as technical reviewer, it has until recently been disheartening to witness unbalanced reporting and controversy regarding minority opinion exclusion in risk assessment techniques. Such bias compromised objective consensus documents and, despite the collective intelligence resource, possible solutions to global climate change were not then tabled. After acknowledgement of anthropogenic contributors, in wider consensus, such “calling cards” of recent weather events and projected hydrospheric processes are signals that command lasting solutions. One researcher's suggestion to "build seawalls" seems Band-Aid basic while other geo-engineering proposals are fantastic or expensive. In addition to both carbon emissions reduction and sequestration, implementing certain types of renewable energy devices can absorb anamolous weather forces- particularly those expressed through water. Persistent minority voices helped redirect IPCC in its fourth assessment to begin analyzing relatively realistic climate solution scenarios. This focus resulted in special reports, “Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation” and “Renewable Energy and Climate Change Mitigation”. AR5 Fifth Assessment Working Groups examine climate change physical science basis; impacts, adaptation, and vulnerability; transformation and changes in systems- avoided damages; and mitigation of climate change via sustainable development. Leading the way to renewable energy take-up are emergent economies of China (29% renewables 2012), India (28%), as well as Europe (20%). Substantially lagging behind are developed economies of Russia (15%) and USA (12%).
So whispers found louder voice for honest water accountability, the plans are revising, we are still late and must sea change to the renewable hydrogen economy. The aqueous portion of our very serious dilemma is elegantly resolved when ocean water is sequestered for use as purified freshwater supply and fuel. As adequate portion of desalinated water is electrolyzed to hydrogen and oxygen gases, processed within human industry and transport, resalinated and recycled, then the problem transforms to opportunity. During 1970's, OWECO debated whether large-scale application of its wave conversion and hydrogen producing technology would reduce sea levels. Though a minimal systems approach, the mostly submerged technology would displace at least some amount water contributing to sea level maintenance. For several practical reasons of efficiency, to achieve equilibrium, the answer never lay in purposely enlarging technology displacement. By 1987, OWECO optimistically perceived that rising seas of climate change could be considered a "gift" for providing hydrogen and oxygen while permitting water level stabilization.
Ensuing promotion of oxymoronic “clean coal” sin gas technology, pre-combustion, post-combustion, oxyfiring, and underground or deep-sea CO2 carbon dioxide storage heavily rely upon scrubbing and sequestration techniques for validating appearance of zero CO2 emissions. Sweeping under the rug to such "out of mind" regions serves to increase climate science complexity as several important factors are difficult to project and reliably monitor for specific locations. Conflicting with current land use, solutions include widespread reforestation, and possibly phased programs of afforestation covering very large areas. However, such practice cannot replicate preternatural symbiotic environments.
In like manner nuclear energy industries, including market application for clean air credit as related to greenhouse gas reduction, omit negative externalities of water use and irremediable waste seepage. Plutonium or uranium enrichment and surface dispersal is intrinsically hazardous. Notions of its repose within subductive plates of Earth’s crust, in mountains, caves, oceans, or aboard space bound vessels obviate objective risk assessment of imminent consequence. Working knowledge is insufficient of active global tectonic and removed resource cavitation patterns. The most appropriate location for direct thermonuclear activity is equivalent distance between core and ground and sun (best viewed full screen- also: 2012 Sun-Venus). Ignoring true cost (including SCC- Social Cost of Carbon), largely allayed to future generations, environmental clean up is accounted an economic contributor to Gross Domestic Product. Like wind cast bits of degraded plastic tarpaulin amongst fallen leafs in autumn woods, inability to adequately process even society’s garbage remains problematic. Interim steps to promote cellulosic ethanol and biodiesels delay our most epochal transition toward water-based fuels.
Pichic Bay Beach at Lo So Shing, Lamma Island 2011- How deep?
With development of the long foretold “hydrogen economy”, the above industries continue incomplete accounting to advocate respectively based methods for segregating detrimental process effluents while producing hydrogen gas. This status began change with fallout from recent nuclear events. Immediate effacement to following generations of all life must surmount irresponsibility and manifest rapid improvements conveyed over wide basis. United Nations, World Energy Council, and others need ignore politico-geographic lines and quest to minimize border bashing, tropospheric and hydrospheric born chemical permutations of human endeavor. As natural elements, land, and water are compromised for temporary convenience, a most epochal energy-use transition is required from thriftless dispersion of permanently depletable hydrocarbon resources. In a most serious version of the "Rock-paper-scissors" game, wherein the package is more valuable than the product or formerly separable product components are united, heads in the sand must stop wanton combustion practices and disposable flow of limited use consumer "goods". Examples:
Little Water, Little Bottles, Big Problem
As background primer, OWECO recommends full screen viewing of "Home", available in several languages, and "Planet Ocean". Manufacturing operations need incorporate methods that reserve and recycle petroleum resources, principally, for supplying material value in beneficial or specialized application. A variety of medical or renewable energy conversion components are most suitably fabricated with certain plastics. Despite malaise, present capability imbues immediately attainable technologies to mitigate these grave problems. Industrial discovery of a repeating polylimonene carbonate polymer comprises a CO2 catalyst and limonene oxide produced from orange peel oils. Having characteristics of polystyrene, the material may form elegant CO2 sequestration application such as closed cell foam where required in buoyant vessels. Land-based solar and wind energy conversion installations also have become more widely adapted. Small-scale success promoted quantity field arrays melding with expanding population zones and naturally important areas. Industry plans of large-scale nearshore wind farms also are hampered by arising public contention for naturally clear horizon. With some reoccurrence, audiovisual impact of wind turbine tower vertical structures and avian or signal interference direct deployment toward offshore seas. There, floating structure blade clearance must extend sufficient height, above the highest wave, frequently requiring submerged counterweight of substantial cost. Any human activity or construct intrinsically changes the natural environment in which it exists. Some well-intended works, particularly constructions near land/water interface, often have detrimental effect that was not predetermined. Technological interaction requires a carefully monitored and controlled approach. Within ocean environs, onshore and nearshore littoral zones comprise biodiverse processes that are best left unhindered. OWEC® Ocean Wave Energy Converter is intended for offshore and deep ocean application. Such placement, whether OWEC® systems or other, may also comprise negative or beneficial attributes. Within context of wide scale deployment, for example, prudence considers barnacle and seaweed encrustation that engender habitat change and marine life redistribution, upper layers thermal turnover, aerohydration, and other considerable factors. Yet, more viable opportunity for minimized perturbation lies in deeper ocean frontiers critical for continued sustentation.
Proposal contents are in draft and complete forms. Further detail is available upon request.
Ocean Wave Energy Company Mission
Wave Tank Test
Small Business Innovation Research
OWEC® Computer Program
Definition of Variables
Introduction to Analysis
Basic Equations of Motion for Ocean Waves
55 Degree Angled Shaft Effects
Buoy Shape and Surface Effects
Breadboard Test/Computer Program Correlation
USCG Comments on the Research and OWECO Response
Work In Progress
Phase Two Technical Objectives
Phase Two Research and Development Work Plan
Transmissions and Electrical Generators
Power Transmission Techniques and Materials
Molds and Components
Buoy/Buoyancy Chamber/Tube Design and Materials
Bearing, Driveshaft, Tube
Sea Trial Management Plan
Sea Trial Security
Sea Trial Documentation
Research Relationship with Development and Manufacture
Potential Commercial Applications
Large Scale OWEC® Interconnectivity Synergy
OWEC® Desalination and Hydrogen Development Program
Hydroface Level Adjustment
OWEC® Environmental Impact Assessment
OWEC® Manufacture and Cycling
(click on patent image for full PDF file)
*US Patent # 4,672,222 - Foerd authored, hand drafted drawing figures (graphite/mylar), and prosecuted patent application. Figure 5 was an intense exercise. Patent error is noted that harmonic drives are not variable ratio.
Please contact Foerd for information.
Note: This page will be revised to describe more recent wave energy activity from, at last count, over 175 entities.
1 May 14- ecoRI news article highlights University of Rhode Island, Electro Standards Laboratory, and agency complicity with federally funded LEG linear electric generator constructs. Look familiar? Indeed, manifestation of OWECO's 1978 drawings leading to the tetrahedral design. This is gaming example of non-modular technical approaches, and problems, that persist to garner our tax dollars.
The gestic motion of ocean waves is long considered substantive kinetic resource. Estimates indicate world energy demand would be satisfied if less than 0.02% of renewable ocean energies are converted to electricity. Possible mechanisms include surface following buoy arrays that use linkage between respective floats and fixed objects to produce mechanical power, connected to a generator or transferred to a working fluid, water, or air pressure, that drive a turbine generator. I.L. Roberts' 1881 U.S. Patent 250,104 is of a modular, buoy-based wave power machine. If then used during a most naturally moderated world climate, perhaps hydrocarbon, nuclear, and related process waste mismanagement would now be considered non-conventional energy. In haste to a quick fix, plethora of seemingly divergent equipment has been proposed, or slightly developed, for converting the large amounts of mechanical energy, present in water waves, to electrical energy. Small scale offshore devices have been ocean tested and activity is increased since the 1992 Earth Summit identified carbon dioxide emission reduction as central objective against climate change. Yet exploitation is only slowly evolving from early stages of technical development. Despite wide variety of proposed wave power devices, from over 175 entities, extensive utilization of practical configurations is partly restrained by designs of limited material efficacy that provide blurry vision of required technological response. Within considerable range of apparently differing technique are inferred general classification of well understood approaches. The art field is now expanding to copious extent so to seemingly dilute improvement rate from among core precedent. As with many current products comprising increased technoplexity of theretofore well-adapted apparatus, contributions by Roberts, and others, are largely forgotten or purposely ignored. Incrementally diminished concept variation forms infringing identity of construct, trademark, and particular confusion to those becoming interested in the art. Several entities quite exactly reproduce LEG linear electrical generator elements invented April 1978, disclosed in 1980 U.S. Patent 4,232,230 to Ames, and tank tested 1982. Still others pursue power conversion aspects of U.S. Patent 4,672,222 to Ames.
Though signs of Roberts’ 1881 invention remain discernable through the noise, extremely few systematic techniques have been achieved. Instead, the field is replete with designs of usually disproportionate, complex, unitary, or lineal style that off-scale end use functions and do not efficiently avail planar expanses of multi-directionally fluctuative energy comprising the wave environment. Majority prior and current approaches comprise fundamentally permanent wave conversion installations positioned on shorelines, breakwaters, or in shallow water. While power of breaking waves is visually prominent along coastlines that seem obvious installation locale for several proposals, such phenomena are actually in shape change perturbation, losing energy to increasing bottom friction, and confused exhaustion upon shore. With relatively high ancillary cost, fixedly structured surge channels are necessarily durable to withstand slamming and storm damage. Such land-bound or onshore structure proportions are unavoidably off-scale with normal wave activity and readily may generate functionally disrupting reflected waves. Often, land uses impose operational, environmental, or social constraint from scenic degradation. Shorelines and littoral edges or margins are most delicately enriched with pre-existent natural process and life of intertwined biodiversity continually identified for designation as Marine Protected Areas. Many zones are, or nearly, compromised from persistent landward encroachment and would completely devastate from major seaside envelopments. Oceandustrial imposition, to any extent, intrinsically impacts surroundings. The technological approach must be minimum systems imprint carefully and quietly adapted considerable distance from influencing organic communities or as peripheral barriers to navigation about previously damaged areas. In very special-case environs having suitable site conditions, perhaps removable non-contacting skeletal planar structures may be prudently assimilated at or near hydroface to cast shade that helps restore sick reef habitats or intrinsically foster marine growth in dead zones. Notably, use of magnetic materials and distributed electrical transmission requires environmental shielding. Discrete anchored systems may provide hanging sensors in various strata for monitoring such activity with only marginal disruption to seafloor-disposed bioforms.
Extensive commercial utilization is partly restrained by device practical limitations for maximal potential use of available resources and materials. Commonly, wave energy converters are designed with absence of neutrally stabilized unit modularity by which self-supported modules are similarly interconnected with other of an array for expansion or reduction to any desired quantity. Powerful but diffuse wave nature requires a significant number of devices to generate industrial scale electricity. Conglomerate investment in singular, or quantity single point-of-use, devices divert application from direct energy extraction of multipoint generated multidirectional waves at the times they locally promulgate and subside. Frugal industrial interface with such medium would suggest that, if a “large bucket of money were thrown” at the kinetic opportunity, technology imprint must also be of diffuse nature- dominantly horizontal planarly distributed and openly spread, point-to-point, in melding correlation with hydroface. This quality is vital for matching the electrical product to changing end use demands.
Representative examples of oversized devices are intended for "concentration" of wave energy into a tapered area before conversion. These focusing surge devices are sizable barriers that channel large waves to increase wave height for redirection into elevated reservoirs. The water then passes through hydroelectric turbines on the way back to sea level thus generating electricity. Land or breakwater grid-connected wave power systems include a 350 kW Norwegian Tapered Channel plant and an Indian 150 kW oscillating water column. Japanese plants of 20, 30, 60 kW, and a 75 kW Scottish project put estimates of existing worldwide capacity at about 700 kW. The durability of the Norwegian design led to two commercial 1.5 megawatt power plants in Java, Indonesia and King Island located near Tasmania. Environmental objection to continuous arrays of onshore or shore based wave-energy devices are founded upon the physical alteration of coastlines. These array types may present hazards to shipping, affect marine ecology, and result in coastal erosion where the waves are concentrated and more sedimentation in adjacent areas. During severe storms, energy transmitted by breaking waves may be over 10 times average conditions and coastal wave energy plants must be built to withstand these forces. Thus, while focusing devices are less susceptible to storm damage, massive structuring renders them most costly among wave power plant types.
Proposals for pneumatic wave energy converters (PWEC) or anchored oscillating water column mechanisms (OWC) utilize pressure changes of above hydroface, closed-chamber air columns for driving turbines and generators. The simplest examples are navigational buoys where waves entering the anchored buoy compress air in a vertical pipe. The compressed air is used to blow a whistle or drive a turbine generator producing electricity for light. Since 1965, Japan has installed hundreds of OWC-powered navigational buoys and is currently operating two small demonstration OWC power plants. China constructed a 3 kW OWC having an artificial gully and a Wells turbine. India has a 150 kW OWC caisson breakwater device with Wells turbine. PWECs receive much attention by inventors and in international cooperative efforts such as "Kaimei", a large, multi-chamber experimental barge. It was shown that power extraction was maximal at the resonant period of the air-water column and not at the natural period of heaving. In monochromatic seas, turbine stators were manually adjusted for "tuning" impedance of conversion means to the resonant period but satisfactory automatic "tuning" was not achieved. Though results were made with "Kaimei", partially due to its overall size in excess of multiple wavelengths, concepts for autonomous versions of PWEC seem plagued with a further problem whereby chamber means develop self-heaving among irregularities of wave form and period that usually negate "tuning". The resulting oscillation of the chamber and wave group is often cophasal. This effect severely curtails air pressure flow through the turbine and subsequent power extraction. Taut mooring may be employed to limit chamber movement but this condition causes undesirable submergence of operative components in swell conditions and suffers the above mentioned deployment limitations. Furthermore, omnidirectional deployment of the device covers and dampens the source of energy from which it operates.
Other products use submerged shoreline turbine generators, near shore anchored wave stations, and near shore combined wave and wind stations. Typical hybrid assemblies essentially share available force and are most conspicuous in single or spaced apart “multiple single” point-of-use applications. Representative pneumatic or hydroelectric fabrications normally have generally tapered cowling means intended for redirecting and concentrating predominately unidirectional wave surge toward turbine focus. Or, a heaving air column in a captive chamber is vented through turbines and power take-off. Such designs typically necessitate high maintenance, costly, taut moorings or foundations per unit for operation while only using the extreme upper strata of an ocean site for energy conversion. Additionally, taut mooring deployment is limited to primarily onshore locations.
Another typical configuration is defined by an elongated housing, mounted on columns above a body of water, having several suspended driveshafts with buoys. Driveshafts are series-connected to a common output shaft. This mechanical unification of disparately operative point absorbers centralizes energy conversion means that must be responsive to extensively variable forces ranging from slight movement of a single buoy to substantial movement of all buoys. Conversion means are necessarily constructed to accommodate maximal forces and, thus, are less efficient when other conditions prevail. Additional concepts incorporate dense mass associated with buoyancy means for equalizing power take-off from buoyancy in the upward direction and gravity in the downward direction. Rather than improving electrical generation efficiency, such buoy associated mass impedes upward buoy movement after submergence. Conversely, downward forces of additional mass are partially negated by buoy lift. Resultantly, reciprocation frequency is substantially lower than wave frequency thus causing partial cessation and slower output speeds during normal operation. This device also suffers source dampening.
A Wave Energy Module (WEM) implements two parallel platforms connected by six hydraulic pumps with check valves. One platform, a raft, floats on the hydroface and the other, a reaction plate, is suspended below the hydroface for dampening. The structure also incorporates elastic suspension cords. As the raft rises relative to the reaction plate, the pumps force fluid through end ports to charge a high-pressure accumulator. A low-pressure accumulator forces fluid back into the pumps when the raft lowers. While a measurable improvement over other platform devices, such as the Cockerell Wave Contouring Raft, the apparatus remains scale sensitive. For example, if the impinging wave profile is low amplitude/high frequency or high amplitude/low frequency, the entire structure is raised and lowered quite evenly thus maintaining a parallel relation with little relative movement between the platforms. Tensioning of elastic cords would divert otherwise useful wave energy. Implementation of hydraulic fluids adds an unnecessary step to the conversion process. Furthermore, this device is not readily associative with other similar units and thus is not a module.
The Salter Duck comprises a longitudinal series of floating vessels pivoting about a common shaft that drives hydraulic fluid to produce electricity. Vessels are shaped as coformed circular and triangular sectional vanes. A Duck variant was used as a unidirectional wavemaker in a demonstration film. The appearance of 80% incoming wave energy capture is depicted when the film was run backward. Deployment of several units requires sufficient non-interference spacing. The configuration causes detrimental forces on hinging mechanisms with less than optimal orientation over more realistic seascapes.
Demi-Tek Inc., West Caldwell NJ, proposed a "Monitor" hybrid tide, wave, and wind electrical generation system in the ocean off Asbury Park. The invention is in service, August 1999, generating enough energy to light the boardwalk and Convention Hall. The lab tested Monitor is designed to reduce wave action on severely eroded beaches along the coast. The 12' x 20' x 40' system is secured, by catapult-type cables that expand or retract with ocean currents. The cables attach to 30-foot anchors screwed into the ocean floor, as used on large oil rigs today. Each anchor carries 140,000 pound load and six anchors are estimated as sufficient to withstand a major storm. Monitor water is guided so that it flows in one direction to spin blades that produce electricity. The electricity is then transferred to shore through a cable buried in the sand. One such device is reported to generate one megawatt.
Ocean Power Technologies, Princeton, NJ, has developed a "hydropiezoelectric" generator consisting of a slender panel tethered between a float and anchor. Panel models are 50’ long, 1’ wide, about 1’ thick, and consist of 50 to 100 thin sheets of a polyvinylidene fluoride trifluoroethylene copolymer. Electricity is generated from applied pressure as this piezoelectric material is stretched and released by rising and falling buoys. The inventors claim that an array of generators covering five square kilometers could supply electricity for 250,000 people at a cost of one to three cents per kWh. This compares with about five cents for electricity produced from state-of-the-art combined cycle gas plants and eight or more cents for oil-fired stations. "It's a very new concept. It's a feasible technology but it's a matter of cost at the end of the day. It seems an incredibly low figure. Even the most favorable cost estimate from current wave power technology is five to eight cents per kWh. When an early proposal has such low figures, one tends to be skeptical," said Tony Lewis, of Ireland's University of Cork, who also advises the European Commission on wave power. Japan's Penta-Ocean Construction Company Ltd. has contributed an undisclosed sum to fund the construction of a 1-kilowatt (kW) prototype in the Gulf of Mexico. While the proposed geometry draws many questions and suffers from usual taut mooring problems, the material may be practically used for OWEC® damper plates and bellows or sleeves, as further described. OWECO suggests material evaluation of this "crackling carpet" for efficient sea anchorage while synergetically generating electricity on selected modules.
Larry Bergren tank tested a wave energy device consisting of a floating buoy and a submerged plate. Both buoy and plate are vertical, straight, circular cylinders of equal radius connected to a power take-off mechanism. The mechanism breaking force is controlled to enable corroborating tests of various mathematical models. Hydrodynamic properties of wave induced forces are calculated keeping the buoy and the plate fixed. Added mass and damping interactions are calculated separately for the two bodies by oscillating one of the bodies and keeping the other one fixed. Hydrodynamic properties are solved by the method of matched eigenfunction expansion. The model allows non-linear phenomena to be included in the time domain. Examples of such phenomena may be irregular waves, non-linear power take-off mechanisms and non-linear drag forces.
Of note, United States Patent 5,186,822 issued Feb. 16, 1993 to Tzong, et al referenced OWEC® U.S. Pat. 4,672,222 to Ames despite substantial technical difference. This wave powered desalination apparatus includes turbine-driven pressure responsive desalination means, a storage tank and conduit connecting to a pump mounted in a resonant chamber caisson having an opening in one side for receiving the incoming ocean waves. The caisson is configured in accordance with the natural frequency of the incoming waves and amplifies waves to drive a float coupled with the pump. Actuation of such pump pressurizes the storage tank to drive brine through desalination means for separating potable water. The apparatus includes a turbine generator arranged to facilitate pressurizing of the brine.
Cited devices indicate hestoric trends and do not exhaust the myriad of permutations in the field of wave energy conversion techniques elucidated in US Patent Class 60, sub-classes 495-507, Class 290/42-44, 52-54, 60, Class 417/330-334, International Patent Class F03B 13/12, former Classes 290/42-53, ongoing patent, literature, and internet searches of wave concentrators, pneumatic, self tuning, parallel platform types, or the above-generally described permutations.