The point absorber is a wave energy device that could potentially provide ample quantities of power in a relatively small device as compared to other technologies. Although there are strategies and numerous designs for using these devices, mostly they all work in the similar manner. They are small in size as compared to the wave length and have bottom mounted structures. Power conversion takes place in various forms depending on the conformation of the device. Vertical movement of the buoy is used for alternate the compression of fluids in various forms of container. The relative motion between the seabed structure and the activated wave that float on the sea surface activates the power system.
PB150 is the best known point absorber device manufactured by Ocean Power Technologies. It is a floating type structure with a low surface profile and inside it is a piston like structure which oscillates as the device bobs with the wave movements. The wave motion drives a generator to produce electricity which is sent to the shore by an underwater cable. Ocean power technologies are currently in the process of developing power tower, a system with a 500 kW capacity which when completed is expected to drive the OPT system into a higher level of commercial and utility scale product capability. The US Department of Energy in partnership with the British Government has started funding various stages of the development program of PB500 power tower. In Coos Bay region, Ocean Power Technologies plans to install a PB500 wave farm system in the near future. It is expected that if the Coos Bay project is completed within time, it is projected to be the largest wave energy park across the globe, capable of supplying 275,000 MW of power to the grid every year.
Point absorbers are designed according to the depth and location where they have to function such as offshore, near shore and shoreline. The First type of point absorber is called as Ocean Power Technology’s Power Buoy. This type of point absorber floats on the surface of the ocean. The rise and fall of the wave swell cause the buoy to rise and fall. The floating buoy comprises two rods that are coupled with devices which are similar to that of a piston within a cylinder. As the buoy rises and falls the vertical motions cause the pistons to rise and fall. The turbine is connected to the generator which produces electricity. The second type of point absorber is Carnegie Wave Energy’s (CETO). This CETO utilizes the energy of the waves passing by to pull the buoy away from its structure. This in turn creates a power within a cylinder. It consists of small individual buoys that are anchored to the seafloor with buoyant buoys. As the waves pass through the device the wave pulls the buoy with it. This repeated motion creates power.
Some of the key players in the point absorbers market are Pelamis Wave Power Ltd, AWS Ocean Energy Ltd, Ocean Navitas Ltd, Carnegie Corporation, Ocean Power Technologies Inc, Wave Bob LLC and Wave Bob Ltd among others.
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