Feasibility of Wave Energy in Hong Kong

Thursday, 18 December 2014
Mark Lu, The Independent Schools Foundation Academy, Hong Kong, Hong Kong and Paul Hodgson, Oceanway Cooperation Limited, Hong Kong, Hong Kong
Kinetic energy produced by the movement of ocean waves can be harnessed by wave energy converter equipment such as wave turbines to power onshore electricity generators, creating a valuable source of renewable energy. This experiment measures the potential of wave energy in Hoi Ha Wan Marine Park, Hong Kong using a data buoy programmed to send data through wireless internet every five minutes.

Wave power (known as ‘wave energy flux’) is proportional to wave energy periodicity and to the square of wave height, and can be calculated using the equation:

P = 0.5 kW/(m3)(s) x Hs2 x Tp

 P = wave energy flux (wave energy per unit of wave crest length in kW/m)

Hs = significant wave height (m)

Tp = wave period (seconds)

 Acoustic Doppler Current Profilers (ADCPs), or ultrasonic sensors, were installed on the seabed at three monitoring locations to measure Significant Wave Heights (Hs), Significant Wave Periods (Tp) and Significant Wave Direction (Wd). Over a twelve month monitoring period, Significant Wave Heights ranged from 0 ~ 8.63m. Yearly averages were 1.051m. Significant Wave Period ranged from 0 ~ 14.9s. Yearly averages were 6.846s. The maximum wave energy amount recorded was 487.824 kW/m. These results implied that electricity sufficient to power a small marine research center could be supplied by a generator running at 30% efficiency or greater.

A wave piston driven generator prototype was designed that could meet output objectives without using complex hydraulics, expensive mechanical linkages, or heavy floating buoys that might have an adverse impact on marine life. The result was a design comprising a water piston connected by an air pipe to a rotary turbine powered generator. A specially designed air valve allowed oscillating bidirectional airflow generated in the piston to be converted into unidirectional flow through the turbine, minimizing kinetic energy loss. A 35cm wave with a one second period could generate 139.430W of electricity, with an efficiency of 37.6%.