Making Waves

The oceans generate enough energy for us to give up coal and gas completely, but no one has been able to harness it effectively. However it doesn’t mean we haven’t be trying to. Hydropower has been around for a long time. Let’s go over a brief history of it.


The power of falling water has been used to produce electricity for 135 years and the idea for using water to power things has been around since 202 BC. It was used by the Greeks to turn water wheels for grinding wheat into flour, more than 2,000 years ago. In the 1700's mechanical hydropower was used extensively for milling and pumping. By the early 1900's, hydroelectric power accounted for more than 40 percent of the United States' supply of electricity. In the 1940's hydropower provided about 75 percent of all the electricity consumed in the West and Pacific Northwest, and about one third of the total United States' electrical energy. With the increase in development of other forms of electric power generation, hydropower's percentage has slowly declined and today provides about one tenth of the United States' electricity.


Now myself and probably many others out there would ask the question why are we not utilizing hydro power more these days? While the water flows freely how we harness that energy is not so free and not so flowy. It takes a lot to harness and there is always something easier and cheaper out there. However things might soon be changing, cue Triton;a device that could supply a third of America’s power.


Triton is basically a wave harvester. Triton in the future, no more huge dams and turbines, just one object sitting out in the middle of the ocean. It is a series of generators that floats on top of the water and it held in place by underwater cables.  It is meant to get knocked around by the waves and that produces the electricity. As waves interact with the device, there is an alternating magnetic polarity created in the metal that is used to generate electricity. It has no moving parts and it is currently undergoing small scale trials.


Each Triton, if everything goes to plan, could produce power for 500 homes. That is with one single unit! To me that is a heck of a lot for just getting knocked around by waves. So hopefully Triton will make a big splash in the energy world! It could lead to more renewable and cheaper energy costs.


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