A wave power plant converts the kinetic energy of the ocean waves to electric energy. A wave power plant operates, for example, according to the principle of an oscillating water column. A funnel-shaped roof covers the surface of the water. Inside, the waves rise and fall, compressing and decompressing the trapped air. The energy stored in the pressure difference is converted to electric power by a Wells turbine and generator. The special feature of a Wells turbine is that, once in motion, it maintains the same direction of rotation, no matter the direction from which the water is flowing. This is due to its completely symmetrical blade profile.
A pilot wave power plant operated by Voith Hydro Holding GmbH & Co. KG in Scotland supplies as many as 50 households with electric energy. Experts estimate the usable energy potential of wave power to be one Terawatt, which is approximately equal to the power of around 1,400 conventional power plant blocks.
Information and ideas:
What is the difference between a wave power plant and a conventional hydroelectric plant? How do the turbines used differ in terms of structure and function? What are the physical features that allow a Wells turbine to always turn in the same direction? What parts of the world offer optimum conditions for wave power plants?
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