Will new device change the face of renewable energy?

A British company has successfully undertaken first-stage tests to bring wave power closer to fruition in the UK.

Named Searaser and created by renewable energy innovators Ecotricity, the device will potentially re-invent the electricity sector, pushing it into greener and more eco-friendly territory.

The idea behind the creation of the device is to give Britain a firm backbone of renewable energy that operates on a robust enough scale to be effective as a replacement for fossil fuels.

The device was tested at Plymouth University, in their CoastLAB wave tank. The testing was carried out to help the designers overcome two of the biggest problems with wave power: cost and variable electricity output.

The DNV GL Group, a world-leader in marine energy consultation, worked alongside Ecotricity and the Searaser team to carry out the testing. Over the past 18 months they have tested the device’s modelled output against real-world conditions and the device’s inventor, Alvin Smith, said it “passed every challenge”. The main factor in making wave power worthwhile is resilience, and the  device has it, he added.

As opposed to most traditional marine energy technologies, the Searaser will pump pressurized seawater ashore, where it will be stored in reservoirs for use in generating electricity. This will mean that the water can be released through traditional watermills when extra power is needed, creating on-demand renewable energy.

Ecotricity founder Dale Vince said his company’s vision is for all of Britain’s energy needs to be met by three renewable energy resources: the Sun, the sea and the wind.

He said that generating power from the sea is the most difficult of the three due to the hostile nature of the ocean. However, he believes that marine energy generation has huge potential and could be used to provide a “significant amount” of Britain’s energy requirements.

A full-size prototype is planned for next year, with electrical arrays powered by the device coming soon after.

Vince added that the Searaser could transform energy generation around the world, while production within the UK would bring many green jobs and greener energy to the country.