Researchers from the University of Edinburgh have been working with institutions in Italy to come up with the renewable energy system. They say their design is cheaper than more conventional alternatives, is made of durable materials and has fewer moving parts.
Small-scale experiments in an ocean simulator have indicated a single full-sized device could generate the equivalent of 500 kilowatts of electricity – about enough to power 100 homes.
Engineers believe the new Dielectric Elastomer Generator (DEG) device could be installed within decades, providing fleets of low-cost, easy to maintain power producing units.
Professor David Ingram, of the University of Edinburgh’s School of Engineering, who took part in the study, said: “Wave energy is a potentially valuable resource around Scotland’s coastline and developing systems that harness this could play a valuable role in producing clean energy for future generations.”
The team from Edinburgh has been working with the Universities of Trento, Bologna and Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna Pisa in Italy on the project, which they hope could take the place of conventional wave power generators, which have complex systems and expensive moving parts.