Extracting energy from waves has been extensively researched over the last few decades. However, until recently most ideas have remained at the concept stage. Now, selected technologies have reached commercialisation.
In conjunction with the National Oceanographic Centre, Southampton (NOCS) and Pelamis Wave Power Ltd (PWP) members of the Sustainable Energy Research Group contributed to the development of Pelamis, which is a leading wave power device. SERG supports Pelamis development through numerical and physical modelling as well as wave energy resource assessment. (The world's first commercial wave energy converter farm is currently being deployed in Aguçadoura, Portugal with Pelamis devices.)
Furthermore, the group is undertaking exploratory development of a novel wave energy converter termed Anaconda. The Anaconda is essentially a rubber tube in the sea which is filled with water. It is closed at both ends and anchored at the head to the waves. It is squeezed or enlarged locally by pressure variations that run along its length due to the waves. Localised squeezing and enlarging effects permit energy to be extracted indirectly at a Power Take Off (PTO) point using a turbine.
Funding for the work on wave energy has come from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and the European Union's Seventh Research Framework Programme (FP7).