New Ocean Device Could Generate One Third of America's Power

April 18, 2016 | Johannes Van Zijl

Concept art of Triton by Oscilla Power
Photo credit: Courtesy of Oscilla Power

This could be huge!

Mankind has always had a fascination with the oceans of our planet. Maybe because they bring us inner peace when we sit on a beach, listening to the waves break on the shore, or maybe it’s just the vast scale of water that gives us an appreciation for the oceans.

Now a group of researchers from Oscilla Power, a renewable energy company in the US, have taken that fascination one step further, and put it to good use. They developed a device named Triton that’s able to harness the power of ocean waves.  The potential energy that could be generated from waves is mind boggling, with over 332,519,000 cubic miles (1,385,999,652.41 cubic kilometres) of ocean water, according to Science Alert.

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The Triton device makes use of a series of generators that float on top of the ocean’s surface. The device is placed and held in position by underwater cables.

Photo of Triton by Oscilla Power floating in the ocean

Image courtesy of Oscilla Power

What makes Triton different from other ocean energy systems is that Triton doesn’t use any moving parts, so it will be more resistant to being bumped around by the ocean. Whereas other generators create electricity by either rotating or displacing a wire coil and magnets, the magnetostrictive generator in Triton squeezes metal rods to create an electric charge.

"As waves interact with the device, there is an alternating magnetic polarity created in the metal that is used to generate electricity," reports Meagan Parrish for ChemInfo.

Here, the National Science Foundation describes how Triton would work:


Although, the development of Triton is still during the early stages with testing still being conducted, Bloomberg has already reported that the device could provide power to one third of America, just by harnessing the waves off of the coasts of the United States. There is hope that Triton could eventually generate enough electricity for the whole planet.

Oscilla Power might have found the perfect solution to generate large amounts of renewable energy from ocean waves in a cost-effective manner. We wish the team of researchers the very best, and we hope to see the concept up and running soon!

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