Aussie “Soccer Ball” Scores Twice with Wave Energy and Fresh Water

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Carnegie Wave Energy (Carnegie) is an Australian company that develops and commercializes wave energy technology that can not only provide power but also desalinated water.

Carnegie says it will build the world’s first wave-powered desalination plant that will generate energy as well as fresh water (see CleanTechnica article here).

The company’s CETO technology includes a buoyant acuator design rated at 240kW. The technology is covered by at least one international, or PCT, patent application, Publication No. WO 2009/076712 (’712 Application).

Entitled “Buoyant actuator,” the ’712 Application is directed to a wave energy apparatus (11) including a buoyant actuator (19) with an exterior surface and an interior that is substantially hollow except for a buoyant internal support structure.

A major advantage of the technology, according to the ’712 Application is that the substantially hollow nature of the buoyant actuator makes it “lightweight compared to prior art floats.”

The exterior surface comprises a plurality of facets (101), which are tessellated to “create the generally spherical shape (somewhat similar to that of a soccer ball)…” According to the ’712 Application, one embodiment of the apparatus has 36 facets, of which 12 are pentagonal and 24 are hexagonal.

The apparatus is installed for operation in a body of seawater (12) having a water surface (13) and a seabed (14), and exterior surface of the apparatus has a plurality of openings for fluid flow between the hollow interior and the surrounding body of water.

Pumps (15) are anchored within the body of water (12), attached to a base (17) anchored to the seabed (14), and operatively connected to the buoyant actuator (19) by a coupling (21) including a tether (23). Each pump (15) is activated by movement of the buoyant actuator (19) in response to wave motion.

The pumps (15) provide high pressure water, which can be used for power generation and/or desalination. Indeed, Carnegie’s desalination pilot project at the Garden Island naval base near Perth will use the high pressure water to operate reverse osmosis desalination technology.

This will be a world first, according to the CleanTechnica piece, and an elegant cleantech double bill.

Eric Lane is a patent attorney at McKenna Long & Aldridge LLP in San Diego and the author of Green Patent Blog. Mr. Lane can be reached at elane@mckennalong.com

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Walter’s contributions to CleanTechies over the past 4 years have been instrumental in growing the publications social media channels via his ongoing editorial and data driven strategies. He is the founder and managing director of Sunflower Tax, a renewable energy tax and finance consultancy based in San Diego, California. Active in the San Diego clean technology community, participating in events sponsored by CleanTech San Diego, EcoTopics, and Cleantech Open San Diego, Walter has also been a presenter at numerous California Center for Sustainability (CCSE) programs. He currently serves as an adjunct professor at the University of San Diego School of Law where he teaches a course on energy taxation and policy.

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