Renewable energy, the need of the hour

When wind and waves work well to produce energy, why should we rely only upon fossils to generate power? The opportunities are massive with wave energy too; the need is to gear it up for the future. When waves move, a lot of energy can be generated, but the problem is, high tides are made only for a small duration, and their pattern changes frequently. 

Ireland is highly active regarding wave energy and was thus chosen as the area where the research was conducted. Climate change has seen a rise in temperature, a shift in monsoon and much more. Plaza and other two UPV/EHU researchers from the departments of Nuclear Energy and Fluid Mechanics and Applied Science from Plentzia Marine Station and Irish Centre for Ocean Energy Research are exploring wave energy. They have simulated, calculated and studied the converters used in the last century.  

Two sets of data from the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) namely  ERA-Interim and ERA20 were analyzed at different locations. The first data set sent by satellites has a limitation of transmitting information for the last 40 years only. While the later is offering data from the 20th century but it is scattered and irregular.

The data is showing an increase of 40% in wave energy in the last 20 years. The researchers divided the previous century into five units constituting 20 years each to study the level of enthusiasm for different periods and compare it. Possibly due to changing climatic conditions, marine energy witnessed a significant rise in wave energy.  

The change in wave energy impacts the performance of energy converters significantly. The variations in the output produced by these converters suggest that the converters did not take full advantage of the power created by the waves. In the later years, the phenomenon like El Nino and waves rising to the height of seven meters or more was prominently seen. This means extreme climatic drifts have resulted in decreasing the efficiency of converters. They went into survival mode and stopped producing energy during such events. To increase the capacity of these converters, there is a need to design them a different way. Optimizing them by height and period of waves, to cater to the changing demand and to ensure that maximum output is achieved; by making these suitable for use in such adversities is the only way wave energy can be converted into a much sought renewable source of energy.