As the world looks for more and more ways to generate energy, harnessing the might of the sea is seen as nothing new. However, add the phrase "rubber sea snakes," and people might just think you've been brewing your own Kool-Aid. Researchers in the UK have been working on a project that involves 600-foot-long "anacondas", each of which could generate one megawatt of power, bringing electricity to tens of thousands of households.
The idea, developed by the Checkmate Group, is in its final stages of testing in a wave test tank in Gosport, Hampshire. Up to 50 of the snakes, aka rubber tubes, will be tethered to the sea floor, facing the waves — which immediately made me think of this, although without the tragic outcome for mankind. (Imagine a world without Clooney, ladies, and I think you know what I am referring to.) The sea's waves generate a bulge wave in the body of the snake which gathers energy, driving a turbine situated in the tail. The electricity is then gathered and carried to land through cables.
The man behind the concept is Professor Rod Rainey, who reckons the Anaconda is a viable idea because of its simplicity and robustness. "The beauty of wave energy is its consistency," he says. "However, the problem holding back wave energy machines is they tend to deteriorate over time in the harsh marine environment." The device is non-mechanical and therefore easy to maintain. "If the worst comes to the worst it'll only be washed up on the beach, and you can patch it up and put it back out there."
The Anaconda is expected to be tested offshore within the next three years, and the hope is that the sea snakes will be in use by 2014. Any alternative to those hideous wind turbines that sit out to sea, rather like a malevolent herbaceous border planted by the Gardening Brigade of those nasty Cylons, can only be a good thing.
Via Daily Mail