Swedish firm Waves4Power aims to ‘generate a better future’ by driving innovation in the burgeoning field of wave energy.
Electricity production traditionally relies on burning fossil fuels, which releases harmful pollutants into the atmosphere, such as carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O). These gases contribute to global heating by trapping heat energy in the Earth’s atmosphere. In order to contribute to reducing these emissions, Waves4Power has collaborated with its industrial partners, including Siemens and Parker, to develop the innovative Green Power EcoSystem for offshore emission-free energy production. Waves4Power has already comprehensively demonstrated that its buoy-based wave energy system is capable of successfully generating electricity and is fully ready to begin upscaling.
Innovation in wave energy
The Green Power EcoSystem works by drawing both wave energy and hydrogen – for use as a sustainable, emission-free fuel – from the surrounding ocean. Wave4Power’s WaveEL buoy system, which converts wave energy into electrical power, is moored with a dynamic system of cables, allowing it a full range of motion even in severe weather conditions. Since early 2016, Waves4Power has operated a full-scale wave energy conversion system off the coast of Runde Island in Western Norway: this system has delivered 4,000 hours of energy to the local grid. The company is now ready to broaden the scope of projects on offer.
Once renewable energy has been adopted at a global scale, a lot of the existing infrastructure used in the production and storage of fossil fuels will be abandoned. Waves4Power suggests that the floating platforms currently used for offshore storage of oil and natural gases can be used to store hydrogen gas, which can power specialised cars, buses, and other vehicles.
The energy and raw material required for hydrogen production is already available in the ocean, the very element that surrounds the existing platforms. Existing environmental permits for oil recovery allow a quick and easy upgrade to hydrogen production. Once produced, the hydrogen can be stored and distributed via tanker vessels or existing pipelines to shore.
Expansion and investment
The global market for energy from marine sources is projected to continue to expand at an average rate of 23% per year, with a predicted value of $11bn by 2024. Waves4Power is actively seeking investors to enable it to realise the tremendous potential of sustainable wave energy innovation, and predicts an annual return on investment of 12% to 16% over 25 years.