Australia’s Underwater Wave Farms Provide Power And Water

Futuristic pods anchored to the ocean floor are generating electricity at a naval base in Western Australia. Using the power of ocean waves, these pods — also known as CETO 5 generators — float just below the water’s surface and are delivering both electricity and high-pressure water back to land, providing electrical power and filtered water without generating any emissions.

The commercial-scale pods, built by Carnegie Wave Energy Limited, are part of the multi-decade research project known as the Perth Project, which is focused on developing viable wave energy infrastructure, according to Engadget. Situated at Australia’s biggest naval base, HMAS Stirling, the CETO 5 generators each produce 240 kW of electricity.

Each generator is composed of a floating actuator tethered to the seafloor. Their position underwater preserves views and keeps them protected from excessive wear and tear, says Engadget. Electrical power and high-pressure water are delivered to land directly from each unit; the pressurized water is then used to drive the filtration process at a nearby reverse osmosis plant, creating fresh water.

The three CETO 5 generators are intended as a demonstrator model for a larger version of the underwater wave farm. Carnegie says that if reliability testing goes well, it will construct the next-generation CETO 6 generator, which should have a capacity of 1 MW. The company hopes to create a larger trio of CETO 6 pumps in 2016.

Image via Carnegie Wave

Image via Carnegie Wave

Using the natural motion of waves to generate electricity without creating any greenhouse gases would be a major step forward in clean energy, as well as a reminder to a world that is quickly running out of fresh water that it might be time to start thinking outside the box.