Farming marine energy

By | Science & Technology
The WITT Marine energy harvesting system.Credit@freshcommunication

New technology to harvest the oceans’ energy has been developed by WITT technology, converting ocean motion into energy. Proclaimed by the company chairman Admiral Sir James Burnell-Nugent as the “Most exciting development in renewable energy sector since the solar panel.” This ground breaking new technology uses a remarkable invention to capture the energy from natural motion.

The challenge of access to a power source which may be renewable and accessible may be a practical matter at sea for a number of important applications. Technologies which use renewable energy sources and have minimal affects on the environment are needed at a time when countries are trying to achieve emission targets due to the effects of climate change. Other technologies like offshore wind farms, hydro, wave and tidal energy have environmental affects for instance to; marine mammals and fish, alterations to sediment transport water quality and changes to the behaviour of wildlife. A technology which averts this may be more environmentally friendly.

The WITT device is the only one which may capture energy from all movement and turn it into energy, exploiting the full spectrum of movement derived from sea and river tides, wind, human and animal motion. This renewable energy may be made possible by the use of a 3D pendulum driving the transmission system converting all six degrees of motion into a continuous single unidirectional rotation of a flywheel, using differential gearing to create electricity. The WITT absorbs 100% more energy compared to other motion devices, capturing this full spectrum motion. The device may be cost efficient, a clean technology in its production and usage and is recyclable, supporting the maintenance of environmental conditions.

The marine WITT may be put to use at sea powering marine applications like large scale survival units, desalination, offshore fish farms and various products which require a constant and mobile power source. The WITT may operate even in the most arduous of conditions, Sir James Burnell-Nugent comments, “There is movement all around us and being able to convert energy from that movement into usable electric power is a truly ground-breaking development. The constant movement of the sea means that WITT’s pioneering technology has immediate applications in the maritime sector and WITT has secured global support to bring this technology to market. The technology is remarkable, the opportunities unbounded, the potential as great as one’s imagination.”

The WITT device has won many national and international awards including; the Ocean exchange General dynamics Gulfstream ‘Leap to Zero’ award, a smart grant from Innovate UK in 2014, the Shell Springboard award winner in 2015, the Frost and Sullivan Best motion energy technology in 2015 and the Duke of York made the inventor of the WITT technology his “entrepreneur of the week” in 2015.

Inventor of the WITT Martin Wickett commented, “The WITT’s key advantages over other wave energy converters or WECs are that it captures energy from chaotic motion, in any combination clockwise, anti-clockwise, up and down and back and forth (6 degrees) and the sealed unit greatly reduces maintenance costs. We believe this makes it the optimum technology to generate renewable electricity from the sea.”

The possibilities lay in the ability to create the device to any size and for any application, in any place on land or sea where motional energy may be utilised and converted into stored electrical energy. The machinery being enclosed in a hermetically sealed casing for life means the device is extremely resistant to arduous weather conditions. Chemicals and oils are far from required in the device working primarily by physical motion provided by nature. The device unlike solar power collects energy 24 hours a day, with minor maintenance costs.

Future applications include multiple defence applications, small personal power units, other marine applications including grid scale ocean power and wind power units. The patented device has the support of global partners Schaeffler, Ricardo and Gibbs gears. It is launching a crowdfunding campaign on the 7th of March 2016 on Crowdcube the world’s first investment crowdfunding platform, to raise £750,000 to permit the technology into manufacturing.

What may inventors learn about energy creation from the WITT device?

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