Australia Uses The Motion Of The Ocean To Generate Zero-Emission Electricity And Desalinate Water Simultaneously

The Carnege Perth Wave Energy Project is the first wave-generated, grid-connected power array in the world.

image via YouTube.

It’s not the size of the buoy that counts. It’s the motion in the ocean.

Actually, both are pretty important. At least, they are when it comes to Australia’s new CETO 5 system. It’s the “first array of wave power generators to be connected to an electricity grid in Australia and worldwide,” according to Australian Renewable Energy Agency CEO Ivor Frischknecht. Starting Feb. 18, 2015, that system was channeling clean, efficient, zero-emission energy into Australia’s power grid, providing electricity to the country’s largest naval base.

CETO 5, named for the ancient Greek sea goddess, is part of the “Carnegie Perth Wave Energy Project,” a multimillion-dollar initiative built to demonstrate the commercial viability of a large-scale wave power. The system is already turning heads both for the energy it produces as well as the pollution it doesn’t.

CETO 5 (the fifth iteration of the CETO technology) is a modular array of three, entirely-submerged 240-kilowatt buoys and water pumps. As oceanic waves move the buoys, the buoys activate the pumps, pushing pressurized water through power turbines while simultaneously feeding into a desalinization system. This short video created by Carnegie Wave Energy, the company behind the CETO system, shows how it works.

According to Carnegie Wave, CETO has a number of potential commercial advantages over other wave power generating systems (as Attn asked: “There’s more than one?”): CETO’s modular design allows for customizable scalability, and it’s being entirely submerged renders the equipment less susceptible to damage from storms and air erosion. What’s more, explains Australian Energy Minister Ian Macfarlane, the ebb and flow of the ocean is a much more reliable source of power than comparable green-energy systems, such as wind and solar.

Plans are already underway for a CETO 6, expected to generate four times as much power as the current system. As Carnegie Wave Energy CEO Michael Ottaviano told The West Australian, “The great thing about it is we know it works. The challenge from here on is really about scale and cost.”

Here’s another look at the CETO 5 buoys:

Screenshot via (left) Wikimedia Commons (right)

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