The first wave power plant in Latin America, moved by the force of the waves, is already producing energy in Brazil.
The operation is based on large “mechanical arms” which have been installed in the quay of the Port of Pecém. The end of these mechanisms, in contact with sea water, has a circular buoy.
With the beating of the waves, the structure moves (up and down) by activating hydraulic pumps, which circulate the fresh water contained in a closed circuit, in which there is no exchange with the environment, in a high pressure network. High-pressure water is directed to an accumulator, which contains water and air compressed in a hyperbaric chamber, which is the device’s lung.
The project, a pioneer in Latin America, will initially provide the port itself. It is an initiative of the Alberto Luiz Coimbra Institute for Higher Studies and Research (Coppe) – linked to the Federal University of , and financed by Tractebel, counting, also with the support of of the State of Ceará.
Ceará was chosen for the installation of the mechanism mainly because of the constancy of the trade winds, which generate regular waves in the Ceará Sea. Although they do not have large amplitudes, as in Hawaii for example, they are constant, a factor which increases the efficiency of the plant.
It is currently in its testing phase and it should be able to start definitively next year, when it can produce around 100 kilowatts to be able to supply energy to the main port of Ceará and with the same amount of kilowatts, also supply 60 families.
Brazil has great potential to harness the power of the sea and convert it into electrical energy. The Brazilian coastline, approximately 8,000 km long, is capable of receiving wave power stations capable of producing approximately 87 GW. Of this total, 20% would be convertible into electrical energy, which would be equivalent to 17% of the country’s total installed capacity. The environmental impacts of this type of energy source are considered low.
Adapted to Spanish by OUR SEA. Sources: Diario do Nordeste and Portos e navíos.