by Melanie Paty
In a recent article posted on KTH, the Swedish Royal Institute of Technology, Peter Larsson reports on the wave energy technology breakthrough of CorPower. Ocean Wave energy technology has been limited by its cost, but CorPower Ocean, a Swedish company, has designed a gearbox system that generates four times more energy than competing systems at one third of the cost. The CorPower converter, developed in collaboration with KTH researchers, is a point absorber system, using a bobbing buoy to turn gears that drive the generator below the surface. The novelty of the recent development is its cascade gear model, a rack and pinion gear system in which the rack is moved up and down by the motion of the buoy, turning eight small gear wheels that evenly share the force, allowing the system to handle heavy loads and high velocities efficiently. This system easily converts rotational motion to linear motion and vice versa. Waves are unreliable given their variety of height and speed, so it has been difficult to develop a conversion system that works with all wave types; however, CorPower’s CEO Patrik Möller claims that this converter is compatible with the entire spectrum of waves. The device won €100,000 at the MIT Building Global Innovators Demo Day.
Larsson, Peter. “Making waves with new gear technology. Researchers’ Innovation reduces cost of producing wave energy.” KTH. February 10 2015. (https://www.kth.se/en/aktuellt/nyheter/hjartat-inspirationskalla-for-nytt-kraftverk-1.529802)
Callahan, David. “What do gearboxes have to do with ocean energy? A lot.” KTH. February 19 2015. (http://www.kth.se/blogs/stockholmtech/2015/02/what-do-gearboxes-have-to-do-with-ocean-energy-a-lot/)