Key to ocean-wave power: keep your generators dry (i.e. on land)

Pulling almost unlimited energy from the ocean's waves, tides, and currents isn't a new quest. But Aquamarine Power's Oyster takes a simple approach that may just find that holy grail.

So far, harnessing ocean power has been tough, due the sea's brutal, machine-crushing operating environment. (Turns out Neptune's an angry, vengeful god.) But Aquamarine has a solution:

The key is the Oyster's simplicity. It's basically a giant hinged flap pushed by wave energy, with just seven pieces — two hydraulic pumps, four valves and a hinge — that send pressurized water ashore. Once there, this water drives a turbine, making the Oyster's power-generating guts more like a typical hydroelectric power plant than any ocean-energy idea tested to date.

Moving pressurized water ashore, and not electricity itself, keeps the transmission equipment — the generator, converters, transformers and other equipment that doesn't mix well with water — high and dry on land.

The firm hopes to shuck enough Oysters to generate 200 megawatts, in a proposed ocean energy farm off Scotland's Orkney Islands, by 2013.

Via Aquamarine Power