OIST: Okinawa Science and Technology Graduate University

With the Project:
OIST Wave Energy Project

OIST Wave Energy team has developed a wave energy converter (WEC) which harnesses electricity from the breaking wave on the beach. In order to capture the wave power efficiently, the team uses a rotating turbine housed in a tapered duct (Ducted-WEC). In 2018, the OIST team installed two full-scale WECs at the beach of Kandooma Island of Maldives generating electricity of up to 4 kW peak. The technology will be installed on coastlines of the continents where the tidal range is low and there are sandy beaches with a wave breaker already installed.


There are thousands of inhabitants living on the islands of the Maldives, of which there is not enough electricity to meet their needs as it is independently generated from diesel engines. This is worsened by the fact that there is no grid power system in the Maldives because of its geographical location leading to heavy dependence on diesel engine for power generation. On the other hand, ocean energy offers countries on the coastline one of the most efficient sources of renewable energy which can generate up to 10,000 TW/h per year. However, the wave energy is not being fully utilised due to the salty seawater that causes metals to rust, and the high cost of working from the sea.


The OIST Wave Energy team has developed a new concept of using an array of small machines at the coastline, enabling them to operate the machine from the beach and not from the sea. The speed of running water in the surf-wave or the breaking wave is much faster than the one out in the sea. Therefore, small size turbines can be used to harness electricity efficiently, thereby, lowering the cost of machine and installation. The OIST team has installed two full-scale WECs at the beach of Kandooma on the island of the Maldives which is operating to full capacity generating electricity of up to 4 kW/h electricity per hour.


The team used a classical permanent magnet generator to make the electrical generator, making the project innovative as more energy is produced. To seal the sea-water leak, the team also used a unique mechanical seal with silicon oil on the turbine axis, this helps to make the generator highly reliable. For more than a one-year operation, there is no indication of a sea-water leak and most of the components of Ducted-WEC can be fabricated in a small mobile factory helping to create employment in the region.


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