The Sax that Turns the Sea into Energy
With its 7,500 kilometres of coastline, Italy could become one of the greatest European countries in terms of the research, development and implementation of new marine technologies.
The use of waves is a valid and innovative source of alternative energy, so much so that the “European Ocean Energy Association” believes the devices for sea energy conversion in the Old Continent will reach an installed power of about 3.6 GW by 2020 and 188 GW by 2050.
For years, Enel Green Power has been on the front lines when it comes to sustainable use of the sea’s energy potential, through projects designed to capture the force of the waves and turn it into electricity.
The Energy that Lives in the Waves
An electricity generation system that makes use of the energy of wave motion. Put that way, it sounds so simple, but WaveSax is really a small collection of innovations.
"WaveSax uses a system of Oscillating Water Columns to produce electrical energy from the sea. At the top, there is a Wells turbine."
The device was developed as part of a project of the RSE - Energy System Research.
The project’s development was carried out through simulations and experimental tests in the most prestigious European ship model basins.
Based on preliminary results and the prospects of its application, we’ve signed a collaboration agreement to assess the power take-off (PTO) of the device in real marine conditions up to reaching a maximum level of efficiency (Technology Readiness Level - TRL) which we plan to increase up to 7-8 with concrete application on a 1:1 scale within a European project.
The first step for this purpose was the execution of tests on a to-scale prototype of WaveSax (current TRL 5-6), with the contribution of our Marine Energy Unit, which were recently concluded successfully in the in the ship model basin at the Cnr-Insean laboratory in Rome.
Flexible and Replicable
Through the wave motion, a movement of air is created within the structure that allows for the activation of the turbine and the production of electricity.
"WaveSax can be installed near typical coastal structures, such as harbours, docks, sea walls and breakwaters, avoiding any impact on the marine environment."
The device has two essential characteristics: flexibility and replicability. It can be installed using existing works and can be used repeatedly in the different climactic and morphological conditions of the Italian coast.
WaveSax will be able to gradually replace the sources of electricity generation that leave tonnes of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, bringing clean and renewable energy directly from the waves of the sea.