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Two wave power plants underway in China

Cost effective plants set to boost marine energy power in BRIC country

The project will harness sea wave energy

Work to build two wave power plants is underway in China. The plants, which use a cost effective approach to harnessing wave power, are set to provide a major boost to marine energy for the BRIC country. 

The two plants in Guangdong province are in different stages of development. While a 150kW facility is nearing completion in the province, construction of a 500Kw plant is expected to start in the near future. The developments add to a third plant which was built in Yangjiang City in 2011.

Israeli firm SDE Energy is developing the sea wave plants in collaboration with its Chinese partners in a deal worth USD 1.2m. The partners cannot be named due to contractual agreements.

Each of the power plants works on the principle of using sea wave motion to generate hydraulic pressure and transform it into electricity, while being mainly built on land.
The power plant operates automatically by hydro-pneumatic circular system complex from engine room and buoys. The buoys, which are assembled in China, utilise the waves at their rise, fall and their return from the breakwater and increase the ability to generate more electricity from a single wave.

Shmuel Ovadia, CEO of SDE Energy, said: “The system takes advantage of the waves’ speed, height, depth, rise and fall, and the flow beneath the approaching wave, thus producing energy”.

The power plant buoys are the only part of the wave power system placed in the water, with 90 per cent of the whole construction on land. According to the firm, locating the plants mostly on land rather than in the water, as with most wave power systems, makes the installation and maintenance costs of the system significantly cheaper.

SDE Energy said it has chosen to develop sea wave power in China because of the government backing it as a good source of renewable energy.

“The Chinese government is very open to implementing new technologies and new ideas in the renewable energy field and realised the sea wave power’s potential,” said Ovadia.