The World's first...
Developers of new housing projects are always on the lookout for an innovative renewable way to bypass the electrical grid and supply their own developments. Wave energy has the potential to do this by providing one third of Australia's electricity needs. The challenge has always been in designing a commercially sound energy system that can cope with the full might of the ocean.
Funding support, from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), of $13 million has enabled inventors at the wave energy company Carnegie, to make this a reality with the world's first commercial-scale wave energy array. They have achieved this by developing its next generation CETO 6 unit, which is capable of producing both zero-emission electricity and fresh water by the process of desalination.
So what is the CETO Unit?
The CETO Unit consists of a fully submerged buoy that is tethered to a pump on the seabed to harness the enormous energy present in the ocean's waves. The unit oscillates in harmony with the ocean's waves, transferring energy through a tether (a marine grade rope) and causing a pump to extend and contract. The pump pressurises fluid which is then sent onshore through a subsea pipeline. Once onshore, the high-pressure fluid is used to operate an off-the-shelf hydroelectric power plant. The resulting low-pressure water is then returned offshore in a closed loop system.
Australia rules the waves
ARENA CEO Ivor Frischknecht said the successful operation was a huge achievement and further cemented Australia's position as a leader in renewable wave power.
According to Carnegie, wave energy possesses unique characteristics that offer an advantage over other renewable energies such as wind and solar energy. Research has also indicated that wave energy is at least three times more predictable than wind energy. It minimises transmission issues due to 60% of the world's population living within 60 Kilometres of the coast.
Power generated by the Project will be sold to the Australian Department of Defence at Australia's largest naval base, HMAS Stirling, on Garden Island in Western Australia.
Benefits for all
Having the capability to harness this resource is ideal in supplying remote or drought areas within Australia that currently lack fresh water.The benefit of producing clean, renewable energy and fresh water from the ocean also presents enormous investment potential for land developers.