Wave Energy Research Paper

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South Africa’s current energy resource is coal which produces a lot of pollution, is non-renewable and will need an alternative but sustainable resource of energy in the future because it will run out. The aim of this investigation is to discover if wave energy is a sustainable, alternative energy source for South Africa. Waves are a renewable, natural and clean energy resource and are free to harvest power from. If it is a sustainable resource of energy, it could be used as an alternative to coal when it becomes depleted. Before deciding if it is an alternative and sustainable resource of energy, it is important to look at the advantages and disadvantages of wave energy, how it works and its relevance to South Africa based on location and…show more content…
The technology was called the Pelamis Wave Power. It is a snake-like body made up of 5 sections that rests on the surface of the ocean water and is moved up/down/back/forth by the waves. That motion drives an electric generator inside each tube and the power is transmitted back to shore using standard subsea cables. Due to it not being right on the coastline, tidal waves are not beneficial to it. Figure 1 shows how the machine bends and moves in the water due to the movement of the waves. Figure 2 shows an actual Pelamis machine working in Scottish waters. This is the best technology designed so far to capture wave energy and they are found 2-10km from the coastlines in the ocean. “On average one machine will provide sufficient power to meet the annual electricity demand of approximately 500 homes.” – pelamiswave.com. The machine has no propellers so will not damage the habitat for nearby sea creatures not disrupt the seabed. Stellenbosch University has developed a wave energy converter designed specifically for South African wave conditions, but it is still in the process of being tested and…show more content…
At this stage in time, South Africa has not invested a lot of money into wave energy technology and if it had to invest more in wave energy, it would be a valuable and beneficial decision to the country. There are a few disadvantages to wave energy, but the advantages outweigh them by far and it is able to produce the most energy compared to other renewable energy sources. I have concluded that wave energy is a sustainable, alternative resource of energy for South
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