Ecotricity, a British alternative energy provider, announced on its website that it is financing a new technology called Searaser. The company says the new technology tackles two of the main obstacles faced by the renewable energy industry: cost and intermittency.
The Searaser was invented by Alvin Smith, an engineer from Devon (UK). It uses ocean power, which is constant, to create electricity on demand.
“It’s such a simple design and we believe it’ll produce electricity cheaper than any other wave-power technology, or indeed any other type of renewable energy,” Ecotricity said on its website.
The difference between Searaser and existing wave technologies to produce power is that the former does not generate electricity in the water. Instead, it uses the constant motion of the ocean swell to drive seawater through an onshore turbine.
It pumps the water using a vertical piston between two buoys. One stays on the surface of the water, while the other is suspended underwater and tethered to a weight on the seabed. As the ocean swell moves, the buoys move up-and-down and the piston pumps pressurized seawater through pipes to an onshore turbine. This produces electricity.
Ecotricity said Searaser units could also supply energy on-demand by pumping seawater into a coastal reservoir, with a hydropower turbine, solving renewable energy’s problem of fluctuating output. The company is pumping money into the project to drive the next phase of development. The hope is to have a product ready for market in 2014. What do you think? Promising or not?
Article by Antonio Pasolini, a Brazilian writer and video art curator based in London, UK. He holds a BA in journalism and an MA in film and television.