Wave-generated power reaches Aussie homes for first time

Wave Swell Energy's UniWave200 wave power generator
Wave Swell Energy's UniWave200 wave power generator

For the first time in Australia’s history, a wave energy converter trial has successfully generated energy from ocean waves to power homes, ABC News reports.

Sitting off the King Island coast in Bass Strait, the UniWave200, made by Wave Swell Energy, has been generating power for the island’s local electricity grid for the past year.

Related article: New wave energy prototype doubles the power

“It’s really exciting for us,” Wave Swell Energy CEO Paul Geason told ABC News.

“We’ve been very focused on this trial and proving the capabilities of the technology we deployed … and now 12 months later we’ve achieved what we set out to do.

“We’ve been generating electricity from the waves of the southern ocean that have been captured in the unit, that was our primary objective.

“That electricity is of a very high quality and has been accepted by Hydro Tasmania as suitable for the grid on King Island, so that’s a very important achievement.”

The 200kW UniWave200 has no moving parts in the water and uses an oscillating water column design, which essentially mimics a natural blowhole. Waves go in, rise and fall, and move air up into the turbine, which then converts into power. It sits on the seabed and has an opening on one side to allow the movement of the waves in and out of the chamber.

With the right wave conditions, the UniWave200 can generate enough energy to power 200 homes.

“The conversion rates that we’ve been able to achieve in terms of the amount of electricity we are able to extract from the wave energy that comes into the unit is very high,” Geason said.

Related article: Wave Swell Energy: Using the motion of the ocean

“On average, we’ve been able to achieve conversion rates of 48 per cent, so 48 per cent of the energy that comes in, in the wave, is then exported onto the grid on King Island.

“That rate is very encouraging and in fact is higher than other renewable energy technologies.”