Promising New Technology for Tidal Power

Testing is underway in the U.K. on 'Anaconda', a giant rubber 'snake' that converts tidal wave energy to electricity. A full-sized Anaconda could reportedly power 1,000 homes.

Read Time: 1 minute

May 8, 2009, 10:00 AM PDT

By Tim Halbur


"Anaconda, a giant rubber "snake" that floats offshore and converts wave energy to electricity, is a step closer to commercialisation. An 8-metre long, 1/25th scale version is currently undergoing tests in a large wave tank in Gosport, UK, and a full-size working version could be a reality in five years.

Harnessing the power of waves is an attractive proposition because they are much more energy dense than wind. But wave power remains the poor relation of the renewable energy sector due to the difficulties of cheaply operating machinery in the harsh marine environment. The world's first commercial wave farm only began operating last year, off the northern coast of Portugal.

A variety of other designs are in testing around the world, but none are as unusual as the Anaconda. The rubber snake is filled with freshwater – to help deter sea creatures from setting up a home inside – and sealed at both ends to create a semi-rigid balloon that floats at the sea's surface."

Thursday, May 7, 2009 in New Scientist

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