Israeli Startup SDE Produces Low-Cost Electricity From Waves

A version of this story originally appeared on NoCamels – Israeli Innovation News 
By: Yinnon Shraga

Did you ever look at the sea and found yourself in awe of the power of waves? That is what happened to Israeli engineer Shmuel Ovadia, 30 years ago. Ovadia was at the beach waiting for friends, suddenly humbled by the vast sea and its powerful waves crashing into the shore.

This sight is what he credits for the idea to use the energy of the sea for human benefit. Today he is the CEO of SDE Energy, an Israeli cleantech company that develops technologies to produce electricity from sea waves.

SDE’s method uses sea wave motion to generate hydraulic pressure, which is then transformed into electricity. The system takes advantage of the wave’s speed, height, depth, rise and fall – and the flow beneath the approaching wave to produce energy.

Taking advantage of the waves

The company was recently ranked by the New Energy Congress – a team of international scientists – as the world’s number one developer of Sea Wave Energy Technologies, number six in Tidal Energy and River Energy, and one of the Top 100 cleantech companies in the world.

A full-scale model of the patented technologies was operated in Jaffa Port, Israel, in 2010 and produced 40ekW (Electrical Kilowatts) for almost one year. According to SDE, the model has been tested and approved by experienced engineers.

The research conducted in Israel showed that the technology can produce electricity at a cost of $2 cents per KWH. According to the company, the cost is significantly lower compared to other renewable energy technologies such as wind energy – 12 cents – and solar energy – 16 cents per KWH.

Ovadia says he is hoping that this model will lead to significant reductions in electricity costs in areas where it will be operated.

Facing competition

Due to the high oil prices and the rising costs of electricity, Ovadia and his partners were looking for an alternative for renewable energy production. Although they are far from being the only players in this market, SDE claims to have a few advantages over other companies that produce electricity from sea waves. Due to the lack of shore areas available for commercial use, SDE developed a system that requires minimal use of land.

According to Ovadia, SDE’s technology “utilizes the waves’ ascent and descent, the entering and retreating wave, the upper and lower wave, while most of SDE’s competitors’ technologies utilize only the upper wave.”

The company says it currently holds several letters of intent and orders from states and electric companies in Chile, Mexico, Zanzibar and Kenya, for approximately $1 billion. The company has also deployed a system in China, financed by the Chinese government.

Photo by polandeze

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