World’s First Prototype: Magnetism Increase Efficiency in Wave Power · 4. July 2012
Wave power is known for its great potential, however so far no one has found a way to exploit the power in waves. Three newly graduated master students from Department of Energy Technology have taken the first steps into a potential future in wave energy.
The new Masters of Science, Rasmus Koldborg Holm, Nick Ilsø Berg and Morten Walkusch from Department of Energy Technology graduated this June in the field of Electro-Mechanical System Design. Their master thesis “Design of a Magnetic Lead Screw for Wave Energy Conversion” has drawn much attention, as the engineers have made a prototype of a magnetic lead screw – the first in the world.
The magnetic lead screw is to be used in wave energy and is the first of its kind. The idea has been theoretically processed in few scientific papers; however no one has worked with the subject of magnetism in practice.
“No commercial wave plants exist that are seriously cost effective. The plants are not good enough for collecting energy; however the advantage of wave energy is the continuous, never ending waves” Rasmus Koldborg Holm says. For this reason wave energy has the potential to be an important supplier of power.
Not Without Challenges
Exploiting wave energy is a very complicated matter, but a magnetic lead screw – a very simple construction – can make a difference. The screw is responsible for converting energy from steady, linear movements from waves to a faster, rotating movement. Through the magnetic lead screw, the energy from the movement is transferred to a generator, from where it can be used.
Current wave plants are primarily based on hydraulic. “The efficiency of such plants is at best 60-70 per cent, but the magnetic lead screw prototype has shown efficiency of approximately 85 per cent and has the potential to reach 90-95 per cent” Morten Walkusch says.
The reason for this is the difference in how much energy that can be found in small and large waves respectively. Large hydraulic systems are great at transforming power from large waves, but in smaller waves the efficiency decrease.
How does it work?
The Future for the Magnetic Lead Screw
For now, a full scale magnetic lead screw has only been tested virtually, but with great results. “We need to test it further to find potential problems. We also have to find money and to build a full scale model that can be tested in a wave simulator and finally in water” Nick Ilsø Berg says.
With the right amount of financing, the full scale prototype would be finished in one-two years.
For further information:
Department of Energy Technology, Pontopidanstræde 101
Supervisor, Peter Omand Rasmussen, Associate Professor, Electrical Machines