SeaRAY is an autonomous charging station project for marine electric vehicles taking advantage of tidal energy
Tidal energy is an alternative that is not new, but it is not as widespread a renewable energy as wind or solar because it is more difficult to achieve efficiency and usually requires large structures. Hence, from time to time ideas such as SeaRAY, a floating platform to harness wave energy.
It is an idea that reminds us of O2, the “most powerful floating turbine in the world”. A mastodon that started to take advantage of this energy, although in the case of SeaRAY the dimensions are smaller, since the idea is make it a usable system for boats and other vehicles.
Like someone who charges the electric car, but on the high seas
As we said, the exploitation of tidal energy is less widespread than other renewables and, above all, there are different ways to do it, as explained by researcher Rebecca Fao (from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory -NREL- in Colorado, USA), one of those involved in the SeaRAY project. An example of this was O2 and also the anchored buoys that they installed in Australia.
SeaRAY is a autonomous floating system designed to obtain electrical energy by taking advantage of the kinetic energy of the waves. Although the NREL has been in charge of the “brain” of SeaRAY and the tests and corrections before the first dive of the system, it is a project in which the company Columbia Power has collaborated with the design, seeing that it is based on a cylindrical shape .
As they explain, SeaRAY would be an equivalent to a charging point for an electric car, but for vehicles like underwater drones. Especially having projects like Silbo, with investigations that last more than four years.
The system includes, in turn, an internal data collection system on the environment, collecting information on waves, currents, winds and the performance of the platform itself. What would be that “brain” that we mentioned before and that will serve to evaluate the activity of the project.
After several prototypes (like the one we see in the photo at the beginning), the final version of SeaRAY will be launched into the waters of the Pacific, north of the Hawaiian island of Oahu. The idea is that, if it works well, it is usable not only for boats and underwater drones, but also in the fish farm industry, mining, military missions and other fields.
Image | Columbia Power