Retired physicist Francis Farley and Rod Rainey of Atkins Global have designed a wave power generation system consisting of flexible tube filled with seawater and sealed at both ends like a giant sausage.

The structure, called an "Anaconda", streams out in the waves like a windsock pushed by the wind. When each wave passes, it squeezes the rubber and produces a bulging pressure wave that travels down its length. When the bulge reaches the end it sets turbines spinning to generate electricity.

Currently, engineers John Chaplin and Grant Hearn at the University of Southampton are testing mini Anacondas, a few metres long, in a wave tank. Full-scale versions will be 7 metres across, 200 m long and be anchored at one end in water between 40 m and 100 m deep. A full-scale device should produce 1 megawatt – enough to power around 2000 houses.

A rubber structure with few mechanical parts exposed to the sea should be more resilient than other wave power generators which have metal components.

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