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Ocean Waves Energy, Reciprocating Generators


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Reciprocating Generators

Energy from sea waves is one o the main trends in research and development concerning power potential from the ocean, many types of devices and ideas are being developed around the world with the aim of finding an economical and reliable alternative energy source. The power in waves is massive but it is also is of the type extensive, meaning that to harvest sufficient amount of energy to make an economical use of this energy several or massive devices have to be installed, often requiring great ocean areas. As more efficient devices are developed the practicality use of these devices will make them more financially attractive, for now still at small scale systems stage and prototypes.


The main factors to consider for the development and  installation of an ocean waves power generation system are the wave amplitude, the wave period and the waves generation over long periods of time, they are places in which good waves suited for power generation lasts only few weeks a year, while others maintain an average quality wave generation for a full year, so the proper location selection is of the foremost importance.


Ocean waves are always being generated but unfortunately regularity in amplitude and frequency is not a constant, their average parameters can change during the day, week, month and season of the year and even from hour to hour, therefore any ocean waves based power generating project requires a careful evaluation of  wave system not only for one short period of time but for the full year, this is very important to calculate how much power can be harvested during the entire year to estimate if it makes economical sense.  


Basic Waves Parameters Definitions

Period: Is the time elapsed between peak to peak or valley to valley in a wave

Frequency: Is how many times a wave completes a cycle in a period of time, in ocean waves

the wave frequency is normally only few cycles per minute or a fraction of it.

Wave length: Is the distance between peak to peak, valley to valley or from start to start

Wave amplitude: Is the vertical dimension of the wave measured from peak to peak











The basic equations that define a simple wave are:


f = v/ג ;   where:


f = frequency of the wave,  

v = speed at which the wave moves in the horizontal plane,

ג = is the length of the wave  



Reciprocating Electric Generator

Uses a movable magnetic core  that moves up and down following the waves crest and valleys,

The system is formed by a stationary coil in which the magnetic core runs up and down generating an alternating  voltage. The generator can be connected to a different power conditioning arrangements, or convert it to DC power using a rectifier circuits, then convert it to

back to AC in a controlled manner without depending on the waves period and frequency.























The  Waves Reciprocating Compressor

Another wave reciprocating system is the reciprocating compressor, works by allowing the wave penetrates in a vertical tubular enclosed shape with a top air escape hole, while the wave is in the upward motion the air is forced and expelled through a pipe connected to a cylinder-piston and then to flywheel to convert the reciprocating movement of the cylinder to circular motion.

Please note that the system works in two ways, in the air compression cycle when the wave is going upwards and in the vacuum cycle when the wave going downwards producing a sucking effect that pulls the piston in the opposite direction reinforcing the flywheel circular motion.

























The circulation motion of the flywheel can be connected then to any desired device to generate any other mechanical or electrical energy, such as compressors, air or water pumps or an electric power generator.




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Lower peak  

or valley

Upper peak or wave crest

Wave length in meters

Peak to peak amplitude in meters

AC generated power

Magnetic core

Floater Tank

Copper coil



Device supporting columns


System foundation

Compression Cycle

Vacuum Cycle

System Foundation



T = 1/f ;  where:

T = Period of the wave

f = frequency of the wave