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Power Earth Technology

Giant Snake-Shaped Generators Could Capture Wave Power 432

Roland Piquepaille writes "UK researchers have developed a prototype of a future giant rubber tube which could catch energy from sea waves. The device, dubbed Anaconda, uses 'long sea waves to excite bulge waves which travel along the wall of a submersed rubber tube. These are then converted into flows of water passing through a turbine to generate electricity.' So far, the experiments have been done with tubes with diameters of 0.25 and 0.5 meters. But if the experiments are successful, future full-scale Anaconda devices would be 200 meters long and 7 meters in diameter, and deployed in water depths of between 40 and 100 meters. An Anaconda would deliver an output power of 1MW (enough to power 2,000 houses). These devices would be deployed in groups of 20 or even more providing cheap electricity without harming our environment."
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Giant Snake-Shaped Generators Could Capture Wave Power

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  • Better description (Score:3, Informative)

    by grimJester ( 890090 ) on Sunday July 06, 2008 @08:46PM (#24078859)
    here []

    Sounds like it's not snake oil on the surface, but I have no real knowledge of the field.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 06, 2008 @08:55PM (#24078917)

    Looking at it doesn't look like it's supposed to be on the oceanfloor but sort of floating in the water. Besides the constant motion from which it's supposed to create the energy would likely keep the sand off aswell.

  • by imstanny ( 722685 ) on Sunday July 06, 2008 @09:00PM (#24078945)
    There are about 30+ companies that exist, which capture 'wave' power. Two to come to mind are Ocean Power Technologies & Blue Energy, though to me, Blue Energy's method seems more efficient since it uses predictable current, rather than waves, to generate power.
  • by d'baba ( 1134261 ) on Sunday July 06, 2008 @09:17PM (#24079079)
    But this shows a better image. []
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 06, 2008 @09:21PM (#24079103)

    A much better version of this article can be found on the New Scientist website: []

    The 'Anaconda' seems to float in the air and also have some sort of filter/covering to prevent marine life wandering into into b accident.

  • by argent ( 18001 ) <peter&slashdot,2006,taronga,com> on Sunday July 06, 2008 @09:50PM (#24079285) Homepage Journal

    The Pelamis is based on the relative motion of fixed segments, this is based on the flow of water through a tube.

  • by ChrisCampbell47 ( 181542 ) on Sunday July 06, 2008 @10:13PM (#24079451)
    The July issue of IEEE Spectrum (hitting mailboxes in the last couple days) has an article about this, with a really cool picture.

    Ocean Power Catches a Wave []

    "The first commercial ocean energy project is scheduled to launch this summer off the coast of Portugal. Three snakelike wave-power generators built by Edinburgh's Pelamis Wave Power will deliver 2.25 megawatts through an undersea cable to the Portuguese coastal town of Aguçadoura. Within a year, another 28 generators should come online there, boosting the capacity to 22.5 MW. That may be a trickle of power, but the project represents a new push into wave and tidal power as governments eye the oceans as a way to meet their renewable energy targets."

  • by Nyckname ( 240456 ) on Sunday July 06, 2008 @11:13PM (#24079843) []

    It doesn't sit on the sea floor.

  • by Animats ( 122034 ) on Monday July 07, 2008 @12:22AM (#24080247) Homepage

    Windmills smack birds out of the air. ... The "smacking birds out of the air" is due to birds flying into the windmills as if they were a stationary object. The blades don't spin nearly fast enough to do any "smacking."

    Actually, they do. Blade tip speeds for big wind machines are upwards of 100 MPH.

    The Altamont Pass wind farm is especially bad [], because it's in a narrow valley on a major bird migration route, a valley full of row after row of relatively small windmills close to the ground. It's a meat-grinder for birds.

    Reasonably accurate bird death numbers [] for the larger birds are available for Altamont Pass. Currently about a thousand big raptors a year, including over 100 golden eagles, are lost to the blades.

  • by mOdQuArK! ( 87332 ) on Monday July 07, 2008 @01:00AM (#24080403)

    It would take a huge investment in infrastructure to be able to "use up" nuclear material to the state where it is reasonably harmless to life. By comparison, increasing renewable energy generation can be done in a fairly incremental fashion (and can be moved & removed in a fairly incremental fashion as well).

    Also, "nuclear waste" doesn't just include the nuclear fuel. It also includes everything which comes in contact with that nuclear fuel & all of ways that it is processed (like the containers used to store/transport the fuel, the reactor walls, the control rod mechanisms, etc). Almost all that material can't be safely used once it has become contaminated, the stuff that it is contaminated with can't be easily extracted for use as fuel, and it is all still hazardous to life.

    I'm not saying that nuclear isn't theoretically a great source of energy, but you're seriously downplaying some of its disadvantages.

  • by Michael Restivo ( 1103825 ) on Monday July 07, 2008 @01:02AM (#24080411)

    There aren't too many people; the issue is distribution of the resources. That is a political - not scientific - problem. . . Poor distribution? Sure. The solution is to encourage free and expanded trade . . . Economic growth is required to free more people.

    My understanding is that free trade leads to a less egalitarian distribution of resources, despite an ideological assumption to the contrary. See, for example, work by Andre Gunder Frank or Immanuel Wallerstein.

    Cheers, -m

  • Re:More Energy (Score:3, Informative)

    by TrekkieGod ( 627867 ) on Monday July 07, 2008 @01:36AM (#24080551) Homepage Journal

    Or the answer could be that each human should have less impact.

    Not really. Every human being has a minimum impact on the environment to survive, so at some point we're going to reach an equilibrium. The question is where to place the equilibrium. You might want us all to cut back on energy usage right now, but as population grows further, we'll all have to cut back back on energy usage even more just to maintain the same level.

    Personally, I'd rather have 50 people on the entire planet that all live like kings than 50 billion with the standard of living equivalent to what we had in 1500's.

  • by mcrbids ( 148650 ) on Monday July 07, 2008 @01:43AM (#24080585) Journal

    There aren't too many people; the issue is distribution of the resources. That is a political - not scientific - problem. We could feed the world and provide fresh water for everyone, if we could get countries to agree.

    I see. Political Science... isn't?

    And if you think that moving everybody to Texas and getting the water from Oregon down to Texas and building 700 nukular power plants is a POLITICAL problem, you have a gross misestimation of reality.

    Yes, politics plays a key role in wealth inequity, but this is also a severe issue of engineering and resource management.

    Yes, in a purely mathematical world, you could move everybody to Texas, and water then with just the water from XYZ river. But how do you distribute those 26 gallons of water per day? Can you imagine how much plumbing and energy it would take to distribute that kind of water? How many millions of miles of piping to lay?

    How many trees it would take to build those kinds of houses, roads to transport the trees, mills to process the trees...

    That's the problem with overly simplistic models that simply divide the number of people by XYZ (usually Texas) and figure that's the problem.

    The truth is that if you were born in the United States, you inherited almost a MILLION DOLLARS of wealth at current market value in public infrastructure: roads, power lines, schools, libraries, police buildings, fire equipment, telecommunications capabilities, rail lines, and so on, all of which give you the ability to do some small piece and earn (on average) about 7% on your public "net worth" as personal income.

    That's how come it's so much harder to become wealthy in the 3rd world - the infrastructure needed to support the widespread creation of wealth simply doesn't exist.

    I digress.

    So you have a city with a population density that at least compares to most cities, the size of Texas. Can you imagine what the quality of life would be like near Killeen? (the middle)

    People live where the resources are available, where distribution is cheap to free, where the quality of life is something to enjoy. I like being able to walk through a park that isn't packed every 10 feet with another person. The feeling of isolation, the curiosity at watching a water snake swim.

    I agree with your general conclusion, that the problem is largely political, and that the 3rd world could become much happier with effective leadership. But I don't like that you use such overly simplistic models to support your conclusion!

  • Re:say that again? (Score:5, Informative)

    by pushing-robot ( 1037830 ) on Monday July 07, 2008 @02:33AM (#24080827)

    Don't say we didn't warn you. []

  • by arstchnca ( 887141 ) <> on Monday July 07, 2008 @05:30AM (#24081451)
    Are you so dense as to miss the already-posted about point that DISTRIBUTION [capacity / infrastructure / technology / etc] is a resource? And that in many parts of the world, it is not this way.

    You stubbornly cling to your imagined notions that the disadvantaged of the world are being ignored under the banner of "there just aren't enough resources for everyone." Do you really think anyone believes this idea that you're decrying? And do you think that we all nod our heads, mutter about how unfortunate it is, and proceed with our lives?

    What can you expect from someone replying to an AC who played the "parapsychology" card (no need to mention the ad hominem) to discredit political science? Apparently you can expect that they know nothing about political science.

    Frankly, you're the one who doesn't care about Earth's disadvantaged humans. Because you trap yourself in these bullshit nihilistic impressions of why the world is as it is - what if we could "handle" the entire world's population on 100% of the landmass? In your style of argumentation, this is still feasible, and distribution of resources is the problem. But even if it were true, the world would most likely be very identical to today - some people drive Mercedes, some people live in Burma.

The only possible interpretation of any research whatever in the `social sciences' is: some do, some don't. -- Ernest Rutherford