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Water power: Waves

Waves are driven by the wind, and wind is created by sun-heated air rising upwards. So wave power is indirect energy from the sun.

Generating electricity from waves has been researched since the 1970’s, but is only now becoming a reality. Several different designs have been developed for practical, tough, wave power systems. But they are all variations on a theme; waves travelling up and down move something mechanical that spins a turbine.

Luckily for us, the seas around the UK are one of the best places in the world for wave power. Winds blowing from the south west across the Atlantic produce strong waves all year round. However, the flip side of this is the sheer power of winter storms at sea. One of the most difficult aspects of wave power technology is building machinery that is tough enough to not be destroyed these storms.

Here are some examples of wave power in action

Many different types of wave power devices are now being tested in a wave
farm off the coast of Cornwall, to see which works best.

Next: Salter's Duck, wave research in the 1970's and how it upset the energy industry

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NOT RATED Legend 06-10-08 09:54
This website is very good. Even our science teacher liked it.
NOT RATED chris evans 06-10-08 10:01
lol this is well wiked
Mr Bliss 13-10-08 09:02
I am a science teacher and i absolutey look like those people from 118. BTW i absolutely hate this website. it needs alot more attention.
NOT RATED PEEP Team 23-10-08 10:31
We're sorry to hear that. The site was designed by working closely with practising teachers and the Institute of Physics, so we have tried very hard to make it as useful as possible. If you have ideas as to how to make it better, do get in touch.
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Ocean wave

Drinking water

One predicted effect of climate change is severe shortages of fresh water in many poor countries. Wave power offers a possible answer for those countries near the sea, powering automated desalination (salt removing) machines.
Find out more