Okinawa Tech Institute Trials New WEC Unit Off Japan

Photo: OIST

A team from the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University (OIST) has installed a new turbine in Okinawa that can reportedly harness six times more energy than earlier models.

The “ducted” wave energy converter (WEC) marks the latest phase in research and development from the OIST Wave Energy Project. This new model includes a waveguide, a duct added to the front of the turbine that speeds up and focuses water flow. This duct allows more energy to be harvested from a single wave.

Following a pilot study in the Maldives, the new turbine has been installed in Seragaki, just north of OIST campus. The turbine will be monitored to confirm how much electricity it can generate and its ability to withstand typhoons.

“The waveguide allows more wave energy to be converted to electricity than past designs,” explains Professor Tsumoru Shintake, who is leading the work. “We have also tackled energy storage by attaching the turbine to a supercapacitor that can save electricity for later use.”

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