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Can renewable energy sources power the world?
Can renewable energy sources power the world?

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Week 7: Wave energy


The possibility of extracting energy from ocean waves has intrigued people for centuries, but it was only in the latter half of the twentieth century that viable schemes began to emerge.

This week we will be looking at the physical processes involved in wave energy, what resources are available, and what technologies can be used to harness this energy. We’ll also cover its economics and how wave power could be integrated into electricity grids.

You’ll start by looking at the physical principles of wave energy.

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By the end of this week, you will be able to:

  • describe at an introductory level the physical characteristics of ocean waves and the basic physical principles underlying the conversion of energy from waves into useful power
  • compare the essential features of various fixed, tethered and floating devices that have been developed or proposed for harnessing power from ocean waves
  • understand at a basic level the order of magnitude of the natural wave energy resource available to Britain and elsewhere
  • describe at an introductory level the potential economic and environmental costs and benefits of wave power.