There are some of us here at UWS that adore and admire bikes. But when you combine certain features of bikes with the environment and the ability to generate renewable energy, it is something we love and appreciate even more.
An aquatic bicycle pump is poised to take the ocean plunge that will transform wave power into clean renewable energy thanks to the company Ecotricity. The Searaser device will pump sea water to an offshore generator and will use the effects of the rise and fall of a large float to pressurise water. This low carbon energy will then be stored in reservoirs on land and be released when needed.
However due to the nature of water and electrocities relationship it does not generate electricity in the environment of the ocean.
“If you put any device in the sea, it will get engulfed in storms, so it all has to be totally sealed,” said inventor Alvin Smith. “Water and electricity don’t mix – and sea water is particularly corrosive – so most other devices are very expensive to manufacture and maintain.”
The benefits of such a device is considered enormous and could replace coal and gas plans that emit carbon dioxide, a deadly contributor to global warming. However the challenge to survive in such a volatile environment has made it late to enter the market.
“Only one device, the Marine Current Turbines operation in Strangford Lough, Northern Ireland, is so far producing a meaningful amount of electricity for the National Grid.”
But the Searaser will be cheaper than both conventional sources and other forms of renewable energy. Ecotricity is expecting to have 200 of the 18 m devices installed around the UK within five years. It will create energy for over 236, 000 homes.
“The idea of Searaser came to Smith when he was playing with a ball in his swimming pool and felt the energy released when the ball bobbed to the surface. He said the device has the advantages of being extremely simple – like a bicycle pump – contains no lubricating or hydraulic oil, and is not a rigid structure and so can go with the flow in heavy seas.”
All quotes for this article were sourced from Damian Carrington’s article from The Guardian, published on Monday 23 January 2012.