5 Advantages of Wave Energy Explained

Advantages of wave energy are; zero emissions, renewable and abundant supply, simplicity of utilization, multiple conversion methods, predictability and flexibility.


This article discusses the advantages of wave energy, as follows;






1). Zero Emissions (as one of the Advantages of Wave Energy)

Wave energy is environment friendly in terms of emission of greenhouse gases and toxins that can contribute to climate change and air pollution, among other forms of environmental degradation.

This implies that wave energy represents a viable energy resource that fits the ecologic demands of sustainable development and energy transition [1].

Wave energy is better for the environment than fossil fuels and even nuclear energy, because the overall process of wave energy conversion does not involve significant environmental impacts compared to these alternatives.

Its low carbon footprint implies that wave energy can save remediation and ecosystem-protection costs like carbon taxes and carbon capture expenditure.

To bolster output, wave energy can be harnessed in combination with other clean energy resources like solar and wind, in hybrid systems [5]. This is yet another advantage of wave energy, as it shows that it can be optimized in a flexible manner.






2). Renewable and Abundant Supply

Wave energy is completely renewable, because it comes from natural resources and processes like water, wind and solar radiation, which are all continuous and naturally sustainable.

The scale and geographic span of oceans imply that wave energy is abundant, and can be used to meet a great portion of Earth's energy needs if harnessed effectively.

In addition to being renewable and abundant, wave energy is also fairly reliable and consistent, especially when compared to other renewable energy resources like wind and solar, that occur intermittently in peaks and troughs [4].






3). Simplicity of Utilization (as one of the Advantages of Wave Energy)

The basic concept behind the use of wave energy is a simple one, which involves capture and conversion using electromechanical devices.

This is an advantage, because it reduces the technical requirements in terms of knowledge and skill, for successful execution of wave energy projects.

It also implies that wave energy systems require less sophistication, and may be less-demanding in terms of capital and operational costs than some alternatives.

Advantages of Wave Energy: Simplicity of Utilization (Credit: U.S. Forest Service- Pacific Northwest Region 2017)
Advantages of Wave Energy: Simplicity of Utilization (Credit: U.S. Forest Service- Pacific Northwest Region 2017)






4). Multiple Conversion Methods

From types of wave energy converters to techniques of conversion, the development of wave energy technology has the advantage of multiple options by which it can be approached [2].

This is beneficial in that it provides some degree of flexibility in wave energy development, and enables operators to opt for the most suitable approaches to optimize the performance of wave energy systems in any given scenario.

The 3 main types of wave energy technologies are; oscillating water column, wave absorbers, and overtopping devices.

The main methods of converting wave energy are; kinetic-to-potential, kinetic-to-mechanical, and mechanical-to-electric conversions.

These technologies and methods often differ in their output or energy efficiency, and have different environmental requirements [6].






5). Predictability and Flexibility (as one of the Advantages of Wave Energy)

Wave energy is predictable in terms of its energy density, supply rates and consistency [3], especially when compared to other renewable energy resources like solar and wind.

The predictability of wave energy is a huge advantage as it can be used for proper planning when carrying out energy development projects, so that the capital costs are evaluated based on potential energy output over the entire lifetime of a wave energy converter, farm/park or power plant.

Wave energy is flexible in that it can be used for a variety of purposes, harnessed through multiple methods and technologies, and managed effectively.

Energy management in the wave power sector can be achieved through energy storage, distributed energy resources management systems (DERMS), smart grids and system modifications.







Advantages of wave energy are;

1. Zero Emissions

2. Renewable and Abundant Supply

3. Simplicity of Utilization

4. Multiple Conversion Methods

5. Predictability and Flexibility






1). Al-Shetwi, A. Q. (2022). "Sustainable development of renewable energy integrated power sector: Trends, environmental impacts, and recent challenges." Sci Total Environ. 2022 May 20;822:153645. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2022.153645. (Accessed 1 February 2023).

2). Chybowski, L.; Kuźniewski, B. (2015). "An overview of methods for wave energy conversion." Available at: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/275196605_An_overview_of_methods_for_wave_energy_conversion. (Accessed 28 January 2023).

3). George, L.; Kornelis, B. (2021). "Shifting wave energy perceptions: The case for wave energy converter (WEC) feasibility at milder resources." Renewable Energy, Elsevier, vol. 170(C), pages 1143-1155. Available at: https://ideas.repec.org/a/eee/renene/v170y2021icp1143-1155.html. (Accessed 28 January 2023).

4). Greenemeier, R. (2008). "Turning the Tide on Harnessing the Ocean's Abundant Energy." Scientific American. Available at: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/ocean-wave-tidal-power/. (Accessed 27 January 2023).

5). Jahangir, Mh.; Shahsavari, A.; Vaziri, M. A. (2020). "Feasibility study of a zero emission PV/Wind turbine/Wave energy converter hybrid system for stand-alone power supply: A case study." Journal of Cleaner Production 262:121250. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jclepro.2020.121250. (Accessed 27 January 2023).

6). Soares, C. G.; Rusu, E.; Silva, D. (2013). "Evaluation of Various Technologies for Wave Energy Conversion in the Portuguese Nearshore." Energies 6(3):1344-1364. Available at: https://doi.org/10.3390/en6031344. (Accessed 28 January 2023).

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