With the belief that wave power could meet 10% of global demand by 2050 and that the UK has a lot to say in this area, Wales is in the race to find a viable solution. To do so, efforts are focused on WaveSub, a technology entirely designed and manufactured in the country, with which they believe has solved the main challenges posed by tidal power generation.

This is how Marine Power Systems sees it, which has just developed a prototype ready to be tested in real conditions. For that it took nine years of work and five million pounds of public aid and private contributions with which, they say, they came up with a design that solves the four big challenges of using waves as sustainable source of energy. “Promises breakthroughs for the burgeoning marine energy industry through affordable and reliable power generation”, manufacturers assure. So much so that a unit 100 meters long and 5 megawatts could provide enough energy for 5,000 homes.

For this, one of the first obstacles overcome was the ability of the equipment to withstand at sea, even in the most severe conditions. This system that works 10 kilometers from the shore achieves it with the ability to change the depth at which it is located and, in this way, to submerge itself to withstand storms. “It’s hiding”, explain the builders, who stress that in addition to protecting the equipment, this feature is crucial so that it continues to generate energy at an optimal level regardless of the state of the sea.

In addition, all this is simplified with a peculiarity compared to other systems. Against many other approaches, WaveSub chooses to operate below the surface of the sea, in order to guarantee the capture of energy without exposing itself to risks. With this location, innovation constantly uses the orbital motion of the waves to drive a sophisticated PTO system. From there, the generated energy is transferred to land via an undersea cable.

Two other challenges that this technology claims to have overcome relate to costs, both in production and operation, two key aspects for making the use of this energy viable. And so they believe from Marine Power Systems, that you are now towing your prototype to the FaBTest test area in Cornwall, to check if the forecasts are replicated in a wide range of marine conditions.

The next step in this innovation will be the construction of a large-scale connection system in 2020 in one territory, Great Britain, which could concentrate up to 35% of the wave energy production potential across Europe. . “Marine energy is an industry in which Wales is well positioned to play a leadership role and we are making substantial improvements to be at the forefront of innovation in this area.”, Gareth Stockman, head of the British company, ensures the thread.

But this country is not the only one to take a stand in this area. Norway, which already benefits from this resource with an installation of 250 kWh of active power; or Sweden, a pioneer in the commercial production of energy from the marine movement, are a few examples.

However, there are more and they stretch across the globe. Australia, Brazil or Japan are among the countries exploring this question, as the United States does. The interest of the North American giant is reflected in an aid of 12 million dollars distributed in June 2017 to give a boost to technological development making it possible to harness the energy of the seas and rivers of the country.

More specifically, the United States is concentrating its efforts in this area on four projects, two of which will test prototypes of wave energy converters (WEC) in open water. In addition, the grants awarded will allow progress to be made in the integration of radar wave measurement buoys, which would make it possible to refine the forecasts.

As global electricity consumption is expected to double the current 21,000 TWh per year by 2050, the race to find solutions for a safe and profitable source of wave energy is underway. Stake, an inexhaustible source of energy, the movement of water, which could represent up to 80,000 TWh per year, according to the International Energy Agency.