As the famous Ockham's razor states "the simplest solution is most likely the correct one”. Note that this is just a draft document and may be subject to change. If you have any comments or suggestions please make a comment below and we can discuss it and maybe open a page for it. The more options we have to pick from the greater the likelihood that one will work.
The main objective of the design is that the kinetic energy is transferred to the shore. Exact processes might change over time. For this to work successfully we must focus on the following:
- Cheap - In order for this concept to work it is important that the average cost per kW should be at least on a par with wind power. This means that the setup cost as well as the maintenance cost should be kept to a minimum.
- Simple - The concept needs to be maintainable by 3rd world countries that might not be very skilled. Also, they must be able to use resources that are readily available. Again, use the wind generators as a benchmark.
- Mass production - Since we will need many of them to create a float farm, they must be mass producible.
- Visible - By using local art we might increase the exposure of the project. For example the floats might be coloured so they form the South African flag.
- Durable - Since a large part of the project will be deployed at sea it is imperative that it can withstand the elements. Regular maintenance is costly.
- Environmentally friendly - If the project harms the environment then the project is counter productive to it's ultimate goal; To be a green energy source.
High Level Design This concept is simple. Basically a float is constructed out of any floatable material and is deployed out at sea. A cable from the float is then connected down to a pulley system on the sea bed. This in turn is then connected to a generator on the shore line. As the float bobs up and down in the waves, it pulls on the cable that is connected to the generator on land. This force is used to rotate the generator and create electricity.
Figure 1: Basic Overview
The above diagram shows the most basic configuration but it might not be the best. The figure below shows an alternate deployment.
Figure 2: Pyramid deployment
- Stable - By using a pyramid structure the floats will be less likely to break free in rough seas.
- Stronger - This allows the risk of breakage to be divided between multiple cables and pulleys.
- No tangling - This will keep the floats secured better and confined to one place.
- Better wave capture - Since wave forces are just simply up and down this configuration will help capture the horizontal forces as well.
- Environment - This leads to a greater impact on the environment as more anchors are deployed
- Expensive - This will lead to more anchors, pulleys and cables which will increase the overall price
Additional ideas:This setup might allow floats to share anchors ie. have more than one pulley on an anchor. The idea is that the floats will not be expending the same forces at the same time. Maybe make the anchors on outer limits of the float heavier to support the inner anchorsExperiment with alternative configurations. A hexagon jumps to mind as this is a stable structure in nature.Component DesignFollow the links below to see the component designs in more detailsFloats
Cable and Pulley