Ruud Kempers  
Wed, Sep 10, 2008
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Designed by nature Anaconda

Anaconda uses an entirely new way of harvesting wave energy. Essentially, it is a very large (perhaps 200m long and 5m diameter) water filled distensible rubber tube floating just beneath the ocean surface at right angles to the waves, with a power take off at the stern. As a long wave passes the bulge tube is lifted with the surrounding water and this causes a bulge wave to be excited which passes down the tube’s walls like a pulse in an artery, gathering energy from the ocean wave as it goes. Continuous energy gathering is caused by resonance between the bulge wave frequency and the sea wave’s so energy is drawn in towards the tube from the width of the sea wave crest as it progresses along the tube . Energy from the sea wave is stored in the rubber as potential energy by it being stretched (in a sea wave it is stored as potential energy due to gravity). The bulge wave travels just in front of the wave rather like a surfer, picking up energy as it increases progressively in size. At the end of the tube the bulge wave energy is converted to a surge of water which drives a turbine in the power take off after the flow has been smoothed.

It is a closed circuit system so issues with ingestion of marine animals will not arise. Because it is under the surface and rubber can be formulated to be non polluting, environmental impact will be minimal.

Anaconda demo

Anaconda is novel and the operating concept can be hard to grasp. It's all about hydrodynamics. As you explore the site they will explain in more detail how it works and its many advantages. Because Anaconda is new it poses technical challenges which they are currently managing in their development programme. As this progresses they will provide more information on their website.

Official website
Anaconda website

Anaconda is the brainchild of Emeritus Professor Francis Farley, a major arse-kicking boffin. He's a Fellow of the Royal Society and a winner of the Society's Hughes medal.
His past career has included work on radar control at Britain's mighty cross-channel Dover gun batteries during World War II.

Later, the prof did particle-punishing research at the CERN atom-smasher in Switzerland.

In wave power, Farley has been involved with a number of designs, including early stages of the "Pelamis" beam generation plan. Now he is progressing the Anaconda, which has already been through some lab tests at Southampton Uni. It seems as though the machines could produce 'leccy at 6p per kilowatt-hour; pricey compared to fossil or nuclear juice, but pretty good for renewables.

"The Anaconda could make a valuable contribution to environmental protection by encouraging the use of wave power," says Professor John Chaplin of Southampton.

Wed, Sep 10, 2008  Permanent link

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