Converting ocean waves into electricity and freshwater

CalWave Power Technologies is currently competing as a finalist of the US Wave Energy prize. Link to prize homepage: http://waveenergyprize.org/teams

CalWave Power Technologies provides a solution to harness the renewable power of ocean waves to produce electricity and freshwater. Our device is a novel Wave Energy Converter (WEC) that is simple and scalable. Our innovative approach was inspired by the ability of a muddy seafloor to effectively absorb overpassing ocean waves within only a few wavelengths. CalWave’s solution operates submerged, allowing it to survive stormy seas while causing no visual pollution or posing any collision danger.

An essential piece of the clean energy puzzle

According to the Department of Energy, wave energy has the potential to power over 100 million US homes, but is completely underutilized at the moment. Wave energy has the advantage of higher predictability, nighttime availability, and significantly higher energy density (~30 kW/m of coastline). Such high energy densities also enable the use of the renewable resource for desalination.

  • Solar Energy Capacity Factor 26%
  • Wind Energy Capacity Factor 33%
  • Wave Energy Capacity Factor 40%

Data Source: EIA Electric Power Monthly 2015

Inspired by nature

The ability of muddy seafloors to dampen ocean waves is well documented at various locations around the world. In the Gulf of Mexico, the wave–mud interaction is so strong that the storm waves are damped within 100–200 m! We used this idea to design a wave-energy converter that responds just like mud to harness the energy of waves passing overhead.

Technological Advantages

This Wave Carpet design has distinct technological advantages:

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Survivable

Due to the fact that the carpet is fully submerged, it is able to survive the strong momentum of stormy seas.

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Passive

The device poses no visual pollution to the ocean surface and no collision danger to boats and sea life.

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Simple

High, broadband and omnidirectional absorption efficiency of ocean waves.

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Scalable

The modular design allows the device to scale in width for setting a desired output power capacity.

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