Prince of Wales Secondary
Floor Location : J 003 N
The science is clear – man-made global warming is threatening human existence and the biodiversity life on earth relies upon. Under the Paris Agreement, participating countries must reduce greenhouse gasses (“GHG”) 30% from 2015 levels by 2030 and to net zero by 2050 if we are to save the earth from catastrophe. These sustainability targets are daunting given the world’s continuing growth in population and energy demand. While there are many exciting topic areas of research and innovation that will be part of the solution, this project is based on renewable energy, as the energy sector generates over 28% of global GHGs (2018).
After building and testing two devices to harness the power of water waves, results revealed in which scenarios both wave energy converters ("WEC") performed best. One wave energy converter used the rise and fall of waves to move a magnet through coils of copper wire (The Rockin' Rubber Ducky ("RRD"); a modified point absorber), and the other used the rise and fall of waves to change the air pressure in a chamber, forcing the air through a turbine to generate electricity (the Oscillating Water Column ("OWC")). After building the WECs using low-cost and readily-available materials, and a test environment to simulate ocean waves, the WECs were successful in generating electricity, and demonstrated their potential viability for reducing GHG emissions. Overall, the OWC generated 869MV and the RRD produced over 1,275MV. The RRD had a broad range of wave conditions in which it was effective, whereas the OWC needed a greater wave amplitude to produce electricity. This may suggest a greater real-world potential for WECs similar to the RRD, however, more testing and precision is required to solidify this information.