There are hundred of ways invented to harness the ocean or wave energy. Most of these concepts are not only expensive to implement but also extremely unreliable. In order to tap as much ocean energy as possible in the most economic way, a concept that utilizes a snake shaped rubber tube to develop a bulge wave has been deployed.
It’s not only an innovative but also a unique concept with the simplest of mechanism. The Anaconda is a rubber tube with a hydraulic turbine that can generate energy up to 1 MW.
Anaconda is a Wave Energy Converter (WEC) in the form of a long rubber tube that resembles a snake. The diameter of the tube is approximately 7 meters and the length is . The whole mechanism consists of just a hollow rubber tube with a hydraulic turbine at the stern.
The anaconda is placed just below the surface of water so that it can easily be oriented in the direction of the waves. The tube is anchored to the seabed, in waters up to 50 meters depth. The main importance of this technology is that it can be deployed even in the shore areas without any necessity to go in deep oceans. It has been speculated that the whole system has the potential to reduce the rates of wave energy drastically
The unique system is a reliable concept taking low maintenance and being extremely self-reliable. The system has few parts which will ensure not only low maintenance but also provide a cost effective way to provide wave energy.
The whole system works on the principle of generating a force in order to create a bulge wave. Anaconda that is anchored in such a way that it remains just below the surface of water is moored at the bow so that it faces the waves head-on. The tube is filled with low pressure sea water.
Due to the movement of the waves, the tube is lifted along with the waves and a bulge is created in the rubber tube that goes till the end of the tube. The bulge waves travels over the length of the rubber tube towards the stern and accumulates energy on the way. This high pressurised wave is forced onto a turbine generator that is affixed at the stern of the tube. The turbine generator thus moves to produce electricity.
The system can easily harness energy from the waves having strength of 25 KW/m. The anacondas can also be used in colabration with offshore windmills to provide a better and efficient energy output.
William, H. & Avery, W.C. (1994) Renewable Energy from the Ocean. Oxford University Press
Images from The Guardian, UK