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Wave Power Technology

There are three approaches to capturing wave energy:

Floats or Pitching Devices

These devices generate electricity from the bobbing or pitching action of a floating object. The object can be mounted to a floating raft or to a device fixed on the ocean floor.

Oscillating Water Columns

Oscillating Water Column

Oscillating water columns, such as the one pictured here, are one potential wave energy extraction technology. Click image for larger view.

These devices generate electricity from the wave-driven rise and fall of water in a cylindrical shaft. The rising and falling water column drives air into and out of the top of the shaft, powering an air-driven turbine.

Wave Surge or Focusing Devices

These shoreline devices, also called "tapered channel" or "tapchan" systems, rely on a shore-mounted structure to channel and concentrate the waves, driving them into an elevated reservoir. Water flow out of this reservoir is used to generate electricity, using standard hydropower technologies.