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Power United Kingdom Hardware

New Scottish Wave Energy Generator Unveiled 244

Posted by samzenpus
from the the-motion-of-the-ocean dept.
MikeChino writes "We've learned about Scotland's wave energy initiatives in the past, and just this morning the nation unveiled Aquamarine Power's next-generation Oyster 800 wave power plant. The new generator can produce 250% more power at one third the cost of the first full-scale 315kw Oyster that was installed in Orkney in 2009. The device's shape has been modified and made wider to enable it to capture more wave energy, and a double seabed pile system allows for easier installation."
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New Scottish Wave Energy Generator Unveiled

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  • by MrEricSir (398214) on Wednesday July 13, 2011 @09:56PM (#36757642) Homepage

    ...the energy cannot be used to power homes or industry; it can only be used to inflate bagpipes.

    • by plover (150551) *

      ...the energy cannot be used to power homes or industry; it can only be used to inflate bagpipes.

      If only they could use it to power distilleries, they'd surround their entire coastline with these machines!

      I keed, I keed! Scotland is a gorgeous, scenic country, (OK, well, at least the Highlands were gorgeous,) and despite their penchant for trying to trick you into eating haggis, most of the people I met there were very friendly.

      • by vegiVamp (518171)

        The highlands *are* magnificent - and so is the whisky, of course, think I brought 20-odd bottles home - but haggis is actually pretty edible. One chipshop actually offered deep fried haggis 'n chips, which was a surprising but definitely repeatable experience.

        • by nschubach (922175)

          Somehow I find it humorous that vegiVamp likes haggis. ;)

        • The deep fried haggis (from places like Blue Lagoon) is not even close to the taste of the "real" haggis, neeps & tatties. Though it is good. The proper dish is alright, but depends a lot on your turnip (swede) and on the haggis - out of 4 Burns suppers I've been to this year, only one haggis was nice (MacSweens). Two in a restaurant were awful, and another one from the shop was even worse.

      • Several distilleries dispose of their condenser water via local swimming pools and schools and the like, so the excess thermal energy gets used for something useful. OK, it's not actual generation, but it's an efficiency. The local one to me (Glenmorangie) vents into one of my local kitesurfing spots, so I get a slightly warmer place to play in the winter. They also feed the spent mash (kind of like porridge, a by-product of making whisky) to the local livestock. It's slightly alcoholic, so the cows rou
    • Re:Unfortunately... (Score:5, Informative)

      by dintech (998802) on Thursday July 14, 2011 @05:20AM (#36760258)

      it can only be used to inflate bagpipes.

      As a Scotsman I'm offended at your derogatory and cliched view of my country. The energy is used to power deep-fat fryers, whisky distilleries and cigarette vending machings. Some energy is left over for TV sets in to watch our football team being crushed by all but the tiniest nations.

      • by IrquiM (471313)
        Anyway, isn't the bagpipe an English invention?
        • I thought it was a middle eastern invention. You're possibly thinking of the modern kilt, which I believe was invented by an English businessman who wanted to make the clothes of his highland employees more convenient to wear and work in.

      • by Inda (580031)
        No Scot would call it fooball.

        Fitba, and we would have believed you.
  • ... when a hideous noise, probably a precursor to some major mechanical failure, was hear to emanate from the vicinity of the device. See TFA, page 2 photo [inhabitat.com].

  • This is also the first power plant in the world to be painted tartan.

  • by TheCarp (96830) <sjc&carpanet,net> on Wednesday July 13, 2011 @10:15PM (#36757816) Homepage

    Well... every great plan has to have a doomsday scenario or two. This one is the worst yet.

    As we know the tides are primarily caused by gravitational drag from the orbit of the moon. The moon has enough velocity that its orbit is actually widening, meaning the grip between the two bodies is getting ever so infinitesimally smaller. One generator stealing energy from this system is nothing, but once we start investing in it hardcore... the reduction in wave energy leads to extra gravitational drag on the moon, slowing its orbit... causing it to stop advancing, and be pulled in towards the earth.

    By the time this is noticed, it is too early to convince politicians that something must be done now, and in fact, the push to convert more power over to wave energy.

    How does it end? Well political infighting, and a new ad campaign by the deep ocean energy harvesters association begins extolling the virtues of the new larger moon, and begin funding both PR campaigns for surfing associations and contests.... and the new moon cult which has begun preaching that the moon is actually Jesus returning to earth. As part of their agreement with the energy harvesters, the cult members primary ritual consists of running Air conditioning all day long, with their windows open and bitcoin mining.

    • That's all well and good, but you forgot to account for solar activity, malfunctioning gravitrons, and the politicization of godless scientists.

    • Clean Oil - It's So Clean, You Can Drink It

      • by bytesex (112972)

        Clean Oil - It's So Clean, You Can Drink It

        North Sea water. You drink it - it drinks you.

    • by gweihir (88907) on Wednesday July 13, 2011 @11:12PM (#36758292)

      This is not a tide-generator. It is a wave generator, i.e. basically wind-powered. Your scenario does not apply.

      The way this works is that it has several joints and swims and thereby fits to waves. As the waves move past the device, the joints are bent in one or the other direction. This is converted to energy via a hydraulic system.

    • As with most renewable energy power plants, the renewable power plant is part of an energy portfolio that would include the traditional power plants in addition to the new renewable energy plants. In general, Nuclear and Coal make up the base generation while Natural Gas and Hydro plants make up the peak generation. As it now stands, the system operator (the entity that schedules which power plants turn on at what times) schedules the renewable plant to be generating at all possible times (weather permitt
    • Not bad, ignoring the fact that gravitationally bound systems lose energy by moving apart. So we'll lose the moon, not crash with it. Nice try though, and really quite eloquent ;)
    • by Amouth (879122) on Thursday July 14, 2011 @11:41AM (#36763484)

      I know it's bad form to link your your self but i did the work for this last them we talkd about it.

      http://hardware.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1643562&cid=32116814 [slashdot.org]

      well based on what i have read - as the moon/tidal effeects work the earth is slowing down and the moon is gaining potential energy related to earths gravity well by moving farther away - assume this is a colosed energy system..

      assume we pull energy out of it.. the moon will come closer to earth (or reduce it's movement away) - so the total energy supply would be the potential energy of the moon in relation to earths gravity well.

      PE = m x g x h

      m = 7.3477 × 10^22 kg
      g = 9.8 m/s2
      h = 363,104,000 m (using it's Periapsis)

      PE = 2.61461968 × 10^32 Joules

      474 × 10^18 = AEC = whole planet annual energy consumption

      PE/AEC = 551,607,527,000 years....

      so the answer is .. keep current rates.. and assume we could get it all from here.. 550 billion years..

      according to this #19
      http://helios.gsfc.nasa.gov/qa_sun.html [nasa.gov] [nasa.gov]

      "In about 5 billion more years, the useable hydrogen (not all the hydrogen) will have been converted to helium, and the Sun will start burning helium, and become a red giant."

      if i remember right.. if it goes red giant it will grow larger than 1 AU so it will engulf earth..

      basically.. we could increase energy consumption by a factor of 100 and only then would we be toying with maybe crashing the moon into us before the sun burns us away.

  • by hey (83763)

    I hope it works. It looks like it will start rusting the second its submerged.

    • by aXis100 (690904)

      Hopefully it is simple enough to avoid most of the common fouling and corrosion issues underwater:

      1) The delicated parts are all fully sealed
      2) The hydraulic cylinders can be made of high grade stainless steel.
      2) Any moving parts are constantly in motion so wont get encrusted by barnacles.

      • by Kupfernigk (1190345) on Thursday July 14, 2011 @04:39AM (#36760076)
        The GP post is really stupid, especially given the usual life span of steel ships (many decades).

        However, it's a myth that stainless steel is the best thing for salt water. It is fine for above-deck use because it gets washed clean by freshwater in rain. But the interesting ingredients of seawater can cause pinholing and stress corrosion in stainless steels, though A4/316 is better than most. Bronze (tin/copper alloy) is good and is traditionally used for throughhulls and seacocks. The usual solution (pun intended) is of course not to let seawater near any working fluid circuits but to use either hydraulic oils or a mixture of propylene glycol and water (anti-freeze) - use propylene rather than ethylene because it doesn't kill fish if it leaks out.

        Corrosion engineering is a really fascinating discipline with many unexpecteds and gotchas.

  • simplified (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Charliemopps (1157495) on Wednesday July 13, 2011 @10:25PM (#36757898)
    "A farm of just 20 Oyster 800 devices would generate sufficient power for up to 15,000 homes"

    or... 1 device can power 750 homes.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      "A farm of just 20 Oyster 800 devices would generate sufficient power for up to 15,000 homes"

      or... 1 device can power 750 homes.

      Translated to American.

      "1 device can power 750 "Scottish" homes" or one average American home.

  • What's the cost? Since it wasn't mentioned anywhere in the press release, er, article, I assume it's still absurdly expensive.

    Also, I still want to know what happens when the wind stops blowing, the sun stops shining, or waves stop coming.
    • by cdrudge (68377)

      Also, I still want to know what happens when the wind stops blowing, the sun stops shining, or waves stop coming.

      The same thing that happens when the coal is burnt up completely, we run out of oil, the natural gas burns up...we stop using that source.

    • Re:That's nice... (Score:4, Informative)

      by teh kurisu (701097) on Thursday July 14, 2011 @05:31AM (#36760302) Homepage

      Also, I still want to know what happens when the wind stops blowing,

      That's when we turn on the link to Shetland, where the wind never stops blowing!

      the sun stops shining,

      The what?

      or waves stop coming.

      We move to option number four, tidal, which is being trialled [scottishpo...wables.com] in the Sound of Islay. Tides are predictable - you know exactly when the energy will peak and trough, and can plan for it. In an ideal world we'd have tidal as our base generation, with the troughs supplemented by other forms of renewable energy buffered by pumped storage.

    • by AmiMoJo (196126)

      Also, I still want to know what happens when the wind stops blowing, the sun stops shining, or waves stop coming.

      Waves are created by the movement of the moon around the earth pulling on them via gravity. If they ever stopped we would have bigger problems to worry about.

      Wind is actually quite predictable and reliable in some places. There isn't a 1:1 ration of wind speed to power generated either, and we can store power to cover gaps or just ramp up some of our other sources.

      The sun always shines, it is just that on occasion it is obscured by cloud. Some places get less of that than others, e.g. northern Africa or sou

      • Waves are created by the movement of the moon around the earth pulling on them via gravity. If they ever stopped we would have bigger problems to worry about.

        You mean tides. Waves are generated by the wind and to a low extend by ocean currents.

    • by vegiVamp (518171)

      When the waves stop coming, I'm sure we'll have other things to worry about than just those things not working.

    • by kmac06 (608921)
      To everyone saying "there's always waves!", see this quote FTA:

      There are often waves when there is no wind

      So, there's also often not.

  • WOW. Of the 1st 12 comments concerning this improved technology 10 are put downs or one sort or another.

    Somehow I don't see that happening if it had been invented in the US. Oh yeah, maybe a joke or two but not 10 out of 12. Pretty damn sad.

    • Re:NIH (Score:4, Insightful)

      by ScentCone (795499) on Wednesday July 13, 2011 @10:40PM (#36758032)
      No, all of the replies would have been put-downs, and they'd all have been written by Europeans, except for one or two from the US who would be whining about how someone, somewhere, might make eeeeevil money while doing this.
    • by gweihir (88907)

      This is actually pretty impressive technology. Save, will be reliable once the kinks have been ironed out, environment-friendly. All the put-downs can be explained by advanced cretinism in a majority of /. posters at this time of the night in Europe.

    • by c0lo (1497653)

      Somehow I don't see that happening if it had been invented in the US. Oh yeah, maybe a joke or two but not 10 out of 12. Pretty damn sad.

      Well, yeah... Can't blame them, more than not being a US company, Acquamarine Power are going to steal some US waves [aquamarinepower.com]. Even more, the US govt is an accomplice, granting them money for a feasibility study!

    • You misunderstand motive; it isn't about where it was invented, it is about Big Energy not wanting competition. So slam it, put it down...discourage investment...discourage deployment.

      Speaking of which, I do hope my surviving relatives in Britain understand that we in the U.S. tend to bomb the crap out of anybody who doesn't cooperate with - let alone threatens - the energy monopolies.
      • by dadioflex (854298)

        You misunderstand motive; it isn't about where it was invented, it is about Big Energy not wanting competition. So slam it, put it down...discourage investment...discourage deployment. Speaking of which, I do hope my surviving relatives in Britain understand that we in the U.S. tend to bomb the crap out of anybody who doesn't cooperate with - let alone threatens - the energy monopolies.

        Only if those who are refusing to co-operate aren't also nuclear powers.

  • For comparison (Score:4, Informative)

    by Solandri (704621) on Wednesday July 13, 2011 @11:13PM (#36758296)
    Capacity factors I found online for wave power [ca.gov] put it at 30%-45% with a suggestion that 35% was a good average. That is, if the unit is rated at 800 kW peak, you can expect it to produce 280 kW averaged over the entire year.

    Onshore wind farms have a 20%-25% capacity factor. Offshore wind seems to have a 30%-40% capacity factor, with turbines in the 1 - 4 MW range. So this wave power unit will on average generate slightly less energy than one of the smaller offshore wind turbines. In the KE = 0.5mv^2 equation, water has about 800x more mass than air, but the average wind speed is a lot higher than the average speed of the waveheight up and down. Enough so that it seems wind ends up having the advantage. (This is just a comparison, not a trade-off. You could for example install these wave power machines in between your offshore wind turbines.)

    Comparing to conventional energy sources, the typical coal plant in the U.S. is about 340 MW with a 65% capacity factor, for about 220 MW average generation. So that's about 800 of these wave energy generators. The typical nuclear plant is about 1.55 GW with a 90% capacity factor, for about 1.4 GW average generation, or about 5000 of these wave energy generators. So we've still got a long way to go before these can truly replace conventional energy sources.

    Unfortunately I can't find the price for one of these units, probably since they're still very much in the R&D phase. So I can't do a cost comparison. Also note that the Wikipedia entry for this project says it has three flaps each of which is capable of 800 kW. So depending on if the summary or wikipedia is right, the average power generated may be a factor of 3 higher.
    • by ShakaUVM (157947)

      >>Unfortunately I can't find the price for one of these units, probably since they're still very much in the R&D phase

      Didn't you read the article? The price was listed right there: they are 25% cheaper than the previous version.

      There ya go. They're totally cost-efficient.

    • by dbIII (701233) on Thursday July 14, 2011 @04:37AM (#36760060)

      the typical coal plant in the U.S. is about 340 MW

      No it isn't. That's a small single generator of probably 1970s or earlier vintage, and you have several of them in a single power plant because you need a lot of cooling, water treatmentt, coal handling etc gear whether you have one unit or several. Many of the concrete cooling towers you see are designed to cool two seperate units for example.
      If a power plant has for example four 650MW units that adds up to more than your number for nuclear, which is also wrong because there are some much bigger plants there along with the tiny research reactors and the many very small miltary run "power" plants in developing countries that bring the average down. Don't confuse "average" with typical and compare apples and orchards.

    • Re:For comparison (Score:4, Insightful)

      by AmiMoJo (196126) <mojo@@@world3...net> on Thursday July 14, 2011 @06:54AM (#36760660) Homepage

      You forgot the most important points: Wave power does not need any fuel, does not pollute and needs very little maintenance. Yeah, it needs more development to get efficiency up and we need a lot of them, but on the other hand they are clean and cheap to run. We have plenty of space for them.

  • by Fordiman (689627) <fordiman AT gmail DOT com> on Wednesday July 13, 2011 @11:28PM (#36758414) Homepage Journal
    I can't stand this shit: "new power generation technology; it's 250% more powerful than the last one!" Yeah, that's fucking awesome - except that you're not really telling us anything. It can take 800kW? Great. What do you expect the mean and standard deviation of that output to be like? How much do you expect one of these units to cost? What, precisely, do you have to quantify this technology's value to the human race other than vagaries about green energy? We've got renewables - wind, solar pv, solar therm, hydro, geo - why is this one special?

    This is not a put-down of the technology; this is a put-down of shitty publish-the-press-release technology reporting. Give us fucking numbers.
    • We you ranting instead of gogleing or wikipeding?
      You are not interested in teh answrs yoiu claim to seek Otherwise you would read TFA etc.

      Regardign yuor enxt post: who cares what a home is in power? It is a completely common reference unit in power generation. Nearly every "new technology" power plant is measured in terms of "homes powered".

      Asuming you are from teh USA ... it does not matter anyway how much power one home uses, as YOU and YOUR home will need 3 to 4 times of it anyway.

  • I read "Scottish Wave Energy" and the picture that comes to mind is some red-haired bearded guys in Kilts doing the wave.
  • The pictures show a big expensive jointed float.
    Wind turbines are also big and expensive stiff machines.
    When I as a physicist and engineer ponder on this, I get cheap light efficient constructions of film, like paragliders and balloons.
    Why is this so?
    Perhaps generators are expensive to subsidize industry.
    Perhaps I am a genius.
    Which is more likely?

  • Since everyone will be confused about whether Scotland is a country or not, whether it's part of England or not or something called Great Britain or the United Kingdom, here is a video that explains Britain, the United Kingdom, Scotland etc.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rNu8XDBSn10

    • The video is wrong in one respect - it refers to Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland as "four co-equal and sovereign nations" when in fact none of them is sovereign - only the United Kingdom is. Scotland, Wales and NI have less sovereignty than a US state, in that the British parliament can in theory still legislate in any matter across the whole of the UK. In practice it doesn't do so (or does so only at the request [wikipedia.org] of the devolved legislatures) because it would be political suicide.

  • 134 comments and not one references making a gun using wave motion. Slashdot, I am disappoint.

    • Thank you. I was about to make the same joke about Wave Motion Energy, and could it power a spaceship made from the remnants of the Yamato, but, you beat me to it.

      I think back to my childhood, hearing that trumpet sound and hearing Orion say "Wave Motion Energy at 100%"

      That's still my favorite tv show.... ever.

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