The Florida Institute of Technology is testing a new technology to convert the energy produced by waves into electricity, The so-called Wing Waves work by tapping the elliptical motion of waves 20 to 30 metres beneath the surface and converting it into mechanical energy that can be used to generate power.
Each trapezoid-shaped wing of the device is 2.5 metres in height and 5 metres wide. They can sway 30 degrees from side to side and complete the arc in 8 to 10 seconds.
An aluminium prototype is now working off the Florida coast. Operational models would be built out of corrosion-resistant materials. The devices do not harm sea turtles and actually attract fish.
Each unit could make enough energy to power 200 to 250 homes or to desalinate about 2,000 litres of water. The researchers say that wave energy has the potential to power half of Florida’s homes.