Making waves in Finland

Espoo Finland-based AW-Energy’s has invented a novel way to generate electricity from ocean waves.

Espoo Finland-based AW-Energy has invented a novel way to generate electricity from ocean waves.

While most energy solutions use the movement of waves on the surface of the sea to create power, the company’s so-called WaveRoller is claimed to be the first solution to harness waves at the bottom of the sea near the shoreline.

The company claims that this approach has its benefits – the WaveRoller is better at resisting storms, has no visual impact on the environment and generates practically no noise.

The WaveRoller device itself is a plate anchored on the sea bottom by its lower part. The back and forth movement of the waves move the plate, and the kinetic energy produced is collected by a piston pump. This energy is then converted to electricity by a closed hydraulic system in combination with a hydraulic motor/generator system.

Because WaveRoller is a modular concept,  plant capacity can be incrementally increased by connecting together a number of modules.

The company is now testing the WaveRoller in Peniche, Portugal, with a 10kW unit. Its goal is to implement a 1MW pilot plant supplying electricity to the grid in Portugal during 2008-09.

Recently, electricity producer Fortum acquired an 8.4 per cent share in the Finnish wave energy company as part of its strategy to participate in the research and development of new green energy production technologies.