The Wave Hub Powers 7,500 Cornish Homes

By Andrew Tarantola on at

The English coast isn't exactly suitable for large-scale solar projects, but it does have plenty of another renewable energy source: waves. This device turns all that kinetic energy into a vast swath of electricity. Here's how.

The Wave Hub is a 12-ton device located 16 kilometers offshore from Hayle, on the north coast of Cornwall. The Wave Hub doesn't actually produce any electrical current itself. Instead it collects the energy generated from four wave-powered arrays covering eight square kilometers of North Sea, and feeds it back to an onshore substation via a 25 kilometer-long, 1300 ton, 11kV sub-sea cable.

While the Hub is owned and developed by the South West of England Regional Development Agency, the actual power generation is handled by one of four developers: Ocean Power Technologies Limited, Fred Olsen Limited, Oceanlinx, and WestWave (makers of the Pelamis system). Each array connects to the Wave Hub using an umbilical running from the generating device to one of the Wave Hub's four, 300 meter-long 'tails'. Each of these tails has a 4-5MW capacity. An onshore transformer increases the system's capacity up to a total of 20MW before the current enters the power grid.

The UK Wave Hub Powers 7,500 Cornish Homes

The Wave Hub is expected to generate sufficient electricity to light up 7,500 homes while saving 24,300 tons of carbon dioxide every year (compared to similar energy generation using fossil fuels).

The system is expected to eventually increase its capacity to roughly 50MW once 33kV cable technology reaches maturity. [Wikipedia - Wave Hub - Physorg]

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