The Sea Snake
One of the smaller companies involved in this project, Pelamis Wave Power, has pioneered marine energy with its “sea snake device,” which is currently being tested off the coast of Portugal. The device is expected to be used in four of the new sites in Scotland. Each of the semi-submerged Pelamis snakes measures 466 feet in length and is made of 700 tons of carbon steel.
A series of four connected tubes bob up and down in the waters to convert wave motion cleanly into electricity. The energy of the undulating ocean is captured by the three “power modules” that are hinged between the four sections. There are large hydraulic rams sticking into the modules. As the long sections twist and turn in the waves they pull the rams in and out of the modules like pistons. The huge force of the rams is harnessed to run generators in the power modules [BBC News]. The electricity is then fed into an offshore grid via undersea cables. Each snake produces about 750 kilowatts of clean electricity.
Image: Pelamis Wave Power