NREL’s New Technology Will Convert Ocean Waves into Electricity


Imagine yourself walking down a road that converts energy from the friction created by running cars, or perhaps, you can imagine wearing clothing that lets you charge your smartphone and even living in buildings that can change their shape into ocean waves and generate green energy.

While this may sound like a far-fetched science fiction dream, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) says that these scenarios could be possible in the future with the help of distributed embedded energy converter technologies (DEEC-Tec).

Now, the lab has earned a patent for this unique, which will soon convert ocean waves into electricity and pave the way for more breakthroughs in the energy sector.

(Photo : MARTY MELVILLE/AFP via Getty Images)
Waves crash over a breakwater during a storm at the airport in Wellington on August 8, 2022.

Wave Energy Converter

The first patent is intended for uses in marine renewable energy-clean energy produced from waves, currents, and tides in rivers and oceans.

However, NREL claims that DEEC-Tec has the potential to convert common energy sources, such as practically any physical motions or dynamic shape changes, into electricity or other types of useful energy in the future. 

One of the key components of DEEC-Tec is flexible ocean wave energy converters or flexWECs. This device can stretch, bend, twist, expand, or go through structural changes that enable them to capture energy from ocean waves with the help of several tiny dispersed embedded energy converters, as noted by Interesting Engineering.

Individual energy converters interact with this technology. The majority of systems use a single generator to convert ocean energy into usable, clean, and sustainable energy sources like electricity. 

DEEC-TEC enters the frame by assembling numerous tiny converters to create a bigger and more adaptable energy converter. 

DEEC-Tec offers researchers and developers a completely new way of thinking about how to convert marine energy from ocean waves, tides, and currents into more useful types of energy, according to Blake Boren, a senior engineer at the NREL. 

When combined, these small energy converters can produce a variety of DEEC-Tec-based energy-converting structures, such as bulkheads, fabrics, supports, and more. 

Read Also: ‘Wave Energy Generator’: CalWave’s Clean Power Tech Finishes A Successful 10-Month Open Ocean Test

flexWECs Advantages

Over their whole structure, flexWECs can catch waves and convert them into usable energy. Hence, energy converters will be available to transform wave energy into electricity independent of the location or manner in which it interacts with a device’s structure.

NREL explains that flexWECs do not concentrate ocean wave energy into a single energy converter, which ultimately prevents ocean wave forces from building up that may otherwise cause the machine to shut down or be destroyed. 

The flexible prototypes from DEEC-Tec might provide a very affordable method of capturing wave energy
Additionally, since they can be built using more economical, environmentally acceptable materials, flexWECs are easier to install and manage once they are in the ocean. 

This recently patented technology is still being improved by NREL researchers. But according to Bored, this adds “further credence” to what DEEC-Tec might develop in the future. 

Related Article: ‘Wave Energy:’ This Floating Spine-Like Device Generates Sea Waves Into Electricity!  

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Written by Joaquin Victor Tacla

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