Fossil fuels may be running out, but there is plenty of energy all around us — the hard part is capturing that natural energy and harnessing it for work.
Think of ocean waves. If you’ve swum or surfed in the ocean, you know that there’s a lot of power in those waves. The first patent to use this energy was filed in 1799, and by 1910 a French engineer was using the wave energy near his home to power his house — including electric lighting.
Hundreds more patents were filed during the 20th century, and today wave energy is farmed and used globally. There are many different devices in current use, both offshore and nearshore. Commercial wave farms are in place in Oregon, Australia, Portugal, and in Ireland and the Orkneys in Northern Britain. The most commonly used methods can capture and convert wave energy at 81% efficiency. The problem for scaling the use of wave energy is this: how do you generate electricity reliably and cost-effectively in the middle of the ocean?
Bosch Rexroth is getting together with a consortium of wave energy firms, academics, and an Irish utility company for a project known as WavePOD. The project seeks to overcome the current limitations and make wave energy practical and cost-effective.
One of the keys to success in this project is the collaborative nature of the enterprise. Most previous work on wave energy has been undertaken by single companies, or even by individuals. Scientific competition makes for some great stories in the history of science, but it also slows down the process of learning and improving. Collaboration allows faster, more cost-effective progress toward shared goals.
Bosch Rexroth has been a pioneer in sustainability for many years, and the work toward practical application of wave energy continues that tradition. WavePOD also continues a tradition of collaboration for Bosch Rexroth.
Bosch Rexroth took over Indramat at the beginning of this centry and now produces Indradrive electronic motion control. If you need support with Indradrive or the legacy Indramat components, call us. We specialize in this kind of machinery.