ENEA Develops Innovative Wave Energy Converter
Italian National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development (ENEA), in collaboration with the Polytechnic Univeristy of Turin, has developed PEWEC (Pendulum Wave Energy Converter).
PEWEC has been studied specifically for the Italian coast waves, characterized by mild intensity, small size and high-frequency. It’s a floating, raft-resembling device, to be positioned offshore, relaying on the hull oscillation induced by waves.
“The device allows to harvest clean, renewable, low-cost energy from the sea. The Italian islands, powered by expensive and polluting diesel plants, are the ideal candidate for this new technology,” said Gianmaria Sannino, Head of the ENEA Climate Modelling and Impacts Laboratory, at the Conference “Electric Energy from the sea”.
“Italy could advantageously harness energy from waves, thanks to its 8.000 km of coasts; in fact just ten of these devices could produce enough electricity to power 30.000 households.”
“The National Action Plan for Renewable Energy envisages the installation of a number of such devices with an energy output of 3 MW by 2020.
The Italian wave energy potential is comparable to that of the east coast of the North Sea, since the average offshore wave power of the north-west of Sardinia is 13 kW/m and that of the north-west of Sicily is 10 kW/m.”
According to ENEA, this technology has several advantages also compared to wind and photovoltaic energy: a low environmental and visual impact, a lower daily variability and a favorable season variation, since wave energy potential is higher in winter, when energy consumption is at its maximum. The device also reduces coastal erosion by depowering the force of the waves crashing against the coast, reducing impacts on the flora and fauna of the sea.