Ecotricity Backs New Technology to Harness Wave Energy

Wave power is an untapped source of renewable energy. There are several complications with using this type of energy successfully, and the most obvious of which is how to harness it. Ecotricity has now teamed up with Searaser, which has the capability to harness the oceans’ power.

According to Ecotricity, Searaser is the latest in harnessing wave energy and was invented with a Devon-based engineer. The device is attached to the sea floor using a flexible harness, allowing it to bobble with the motion of the ocean.

The Searaser also contains a pump that rises and falls on waves. At the prototype stage, it could successfully pump water a 160 foot hill through a pipe. A full-sized unit could potentially generate about 0.25 MW of energy. 

According to Ecotricity: “Most existing wave technologies generate electricity in the ocean environment. But as we know water and electricity don’t mix – and seawater is particularly corrosive – so most other devices are very expensive to manufacture and maintain. But Searaser doesn’t generate the electricity in the water. It simply uses the almost constant motion of the ocean swell to drive seawater through an onshore turbine. Searaser pumps seawater using a vertical piston between two buoys – one on the surface of the water – the other suspended underwater and tethered to a weight on the seabed. As the ocean swell moves, the buoys move up-and-down and the piston pumps pressurised seawater through pipes to an onshore turbine. This produces electricity. Searaser units could also supply energy on-demand by pumping seawater into a coastal reservoir, with a hydropower turbine, solving renewable energy’s problem of fluctuating output.

The technology sounds dubiously simple, but the concept of generating electricity on land rather than in the water might  overcome the barriers that have been faced so far. It will be exciting to see how it works out upon field installations. Along with the partnership between Ecotricity and Searaser, Ecotricity recently announced that the Searaser will be ready for commercial use within 12 months and the British coastline could see about 200 Searaser units in five years.

Although it appears a little premature to make the claim, Ecotricity has a strong track record of accurately backing new energy trends. If this works out, renewable energy may be entering into a new frontier of insofar untapped potential.

Image Credit: Ecotricity/Searaser ©

Akhila is the Founding Director of GreenDen Consultancy which is dedicated to offering business analysis, reporting and marketing solutions powered by sustainability and social responsibility. Based in the US, Europe, and India, the GreenDen's consultants share the best practices and innovation from around the globe to achieve real results. She has previously written about CSR and ethical consumption for Justmeans and hopes to put a fresh spin on things for this column. As an IEMA certified CSR practitioner, she hopes to highlight a new way of doing business. She believes that consumers have the immense power to change 'business as usual' through their choices. She is a Graduate in Molecular Biology from the University of Glasgow, UK and in Environmental Management and Law. In her free-time she is a voracious reader and enjoys photography, yoga, travelling and the great outdoors. She can be contacted via Twitter @aksvi and also http://www.thegreenden.net