As we move farther and farther into the epoch dominated by humans, we are growing increasingly desperate to find ways to sustainably harvest energy across the globe. Fortunately, from the looks of it, our renewable energy future seems pretty promising.
But we’re not there yet, and we’re still trying to devise improved methods of collecting energy, and there’s a perfect place to turn to—the oceans.
And that’s precisely where Triton comes in.
It’s a new device invented by Oscilla Power that harnesses the kinetic power of the ocean’s waves. Since there’s a lot of waves out there (approximately 1.4 billion cubic kilometres, or 332 million cubic miles, of ocean water), there’s a lot of energy that can be obtained.
The device itself has no motors or running parts, which is great news in the case of a really rough wave. There’s only a series of generators and a heave plate that work together, and it all stays afloat and steady through underwater cables.
The science behind it is quite simple. “As waves interact with the device, there is an alternating magnetic polarity created in the metal that is used to generate electricity,” asserts Meagan Parrish from ChemInfo.
Oscilla Power goes into further detail, stating that energy is captured by “the use of flexible tethers, themselves enabled by an asymmetric heave plate, [in which] Triton uniquely captures energy from heave, pitch, sway, and roll motions.”
At the moment, Triton is going through a series of small-scale trials to make sure that it’s ready for the vast ocean. If successful, Triton could supply the U.S. with up to a third of its power. Plus, it is estimated that 15 percent of the global electricity demand would be covered.
Now to put that into perspective, the Triton would produce up to 600kW of power, whereas the average household uses around 1.26kW every month. That could supply more electricity to 500 homes than a wind turbine.
We’re keeping our fingers crossed in the meantime, waiting for this new technology to start making waves (sorry, bad pun).