Catching Some Waves
Posted: November 1, 2021
Ocean waves form when wind passes over the surface of the sea. Scientists see the movement. Where there is movement, there is energy. So scientists wonder how ocean waves can be useful.
People around the world use electricity every day. What if ocean waves provided some of that electricity? After all, over 70 percent of the Earth’s surface is covered with water. That means waves are moving and cresting all around the world, all the time. That’s a lot of unused energy!
An ocean wave carries kinetic energy. That is energy of motion. According to the United States Office of Efficiency and Renewable Energy, the energy in one wave could power an electric car for hundreds of miles. Scientists are figuring out how to take a wave’s energy and turn it into electricity.
Here’s what they are up to: First, the wind blows across the ocean. This creates waves. The strongest waves are in deep water. Researchers plop a platform, or floating science station, into that deep water. The platform has tools on board to grab energy from the waves that crash into it. Machines take that wave energy and turn it into electricity. The electricity can be stored in batteries. Or it can be used right away by running it through power cords to provide electricity for the platform’s equipment. Electricity is also sent back to shore through cables that are attached to the platform.
OPI’s ocean platform is called Triton. It has five important parts.
Surface Float: A bright yellow buoy that floats on top of the ocean’s surface
Reaction Ring: A heavy ring attached to the surface float, also called a heave plate
Tendons: Three tight rods that connect the surface float to the reaction ring
Coils: Iron-aluminum spirals on each rod capture wave energy and turn it into electricity
Cables: Electricity-conducting cords that carry electricity back to shore
Developing technology helps us understand waves and the energy they carry better than ever before. Psalm 107:25 says, “For He commanded and raised the stormy wind, which lifted up the waves of the sea.” God stirs up ocean waves. He also has the power to calm them. Psalm 107:29 says, “He made the storm be still, and the waves of the sea were hushed.”