Researchers at the University of California-Berkeley are preparing a wave "carpet" demonstration project they hope to install on the sea floor along the Oregon coast.
The project would employ a submerged, flexible surface that would rock with the motion of the ocean waves, pressing down on a series of piston-pumps that would send a compressed column of water to the shore, where it could be converted into electricity. Researchers say it has the potential to be durable, portable and highly efficient at converting wave motion to energy.
One hundred square meters of undersea carpet has the potential to provide as much energy, said Mechanical and Ocean Engineering Professor Reza Alam, as a soccer field full of solar arrays.
While the concept and project have gained attention, it is in the early stages. Researchers hope to install the project in 2016. Researcher Marcus Lehmann recently successfully completed a small fundraising round on the crowdfunding site Experiment.com.
"We completed our proof-of-concept prototype and are working on increasing the efficiency further," Lehmann said by email, adding, "Oregon is a good location for wave energy developers."
©2014 The Oregonian (Portland, Ore.)