Following a three-month demonstration of Minnesota-based energy technology company Independent Natural Resources Inc.'s (INRI(TM)) SEADOG Pump system, researchers from the Texas A+M University at Galveston Marine Engineering Technology Department released a report today validating the performance and output of the innovative yet simple technology.
The report, which focused on a SEADOG Pump installed off the Galveston, Texas coast in the Gulf of Mexico, analyzed the pump's performance from July 2007 to November 2007, tracking all weather conditions from calm days to the Category 1 force of Hurricane Humberto.
"Most of the wave energy conversion devices developed to date experience one of many potential problems due to factors such as initial cost, operating cost, long rate of return, installation, and operational and maintenance issues mostly due to the highly-complex nature of structural and anchoring demands for the units. However, when considering the SEADOG Pump, which was conceptualized and developed by INRI(TM), most of the above mentioned potential problems are not present which can be credited to the simple design of the SEADOG Pump. This further implies that this device has the potential to become a good alternative energy conversion device that can be easily fabricated, deployed and maintained. Compared to other wave energy conversion devices developed to date, the SEADOG Pump has a good potential to become a functionally marketable machine in the near future," said Frank Warnakulasuriya, Ph.D., assistant department head, Marine Engineering Technology, Texas A&M University at Galveston.
Dr. Warnakulasuriya also states in the report that the, "Overall effectiveness of the SEADOG Pump as a pump which converts ocean wave energy was around 22 percent and is a very promising value for a demonstration machine. The solid fact for this argument is that most of the highly-engineered and well-improved wave energy converters pretty much show similar values. The possibility of improving the SEADOG Pump to work at an overall effectiveness in the range of 45 to 55 percent is visible."
In the report, researchers praised the pump's design features for good mechanical efficiency that absorbs most of the potential energy and a significant amount of the kinetic energy content in the wave. This report further validates findings from a 21-day sea trial conducted in January of 2007 which compares the amount of energy SEADOG Pump can extract per square mile of deployment compared to other ocean, wind and solar renewable technologies. Because the pumps can be deployed in close proximity to each other, INRI(TM) estimates that they will produce five to 20 times more power per square mile than other technologies.
Generally speaking, wave energy is captured by engineered devices or components attached to stationary or floating structures that are set in motion by waves or swells on the surface of the ocean. Most wave energy technologies grow in cost because the specified equipment is sensitive to corrosive seawater and has intermittency issues similar to wind and solar energy. SEADOG Pump on the other hand, separates itself from other technologies on the market by using a simple pump design with few moving parts and no electronics. Multiple pumps are deployed in fields depending on how much power or water is desired. In addition, the SEADOG Pump moves large volumes of water to shore where it can be stored until needed for energy production or desalination. This ability to store energy removes the intermittency issues associated with other renewable energy technologies.
"We're incredibly pleased with the report findings," said Mark A. Thomas, CEO, INRI(TM). "In the global race to find safe, efficient, renewable energy sources, the ocean waves have shown great promise, but have yet to be harnessed due to a number of challenging issues. The SEADOG Pump addresses these issues and has proven, as this study shows, that it's possible to extract this energy at a low cost, with the highest levels of efficiency and greater benefit to humankind."
Energy System Also Provides Desalination Remedy
The lack of sufficient fresh water is a growing concern in many regions of the world, and seawater desalination is increasingly essential; Texas alone has more than 100 desalination plants. To further prove the SEADOG Pump's commercial viability, INRI(TM) plans to launch an 18-pump field in the Gulf of Mexico between Galveston and Freeport, Texas. This commercial demonstration facility will desalinate seawater using the power generated by the 18 SEADOG Pumps. INRI(TM) has incorporated a wholly-owned subsidiary in the state of Texas that will bottle and distribute the freshly desalinated water. This first-of-its-kind facility will demonstrate the ability to use natural and renewable resources to meet the need for additional global desalination capacity, which is expected to double in size by 2027. Desalination typically requires significant electrical demand (40 to 50 percent of operating costs can be contributed to electric usage). Furthermore, desalination discharges highly-concentrated salt brine that poses disposal difficulties and problems to the environment. Using the SEADOG Pump in combination with new desalination methods, under development by INRI(TM), will make fresh water production less expensive, more accessible and without harmful environmental impacts or the large-scale use of power generated by fossil fuels.
How SEADOG Pump Works
Most wave-energy technologies involve off-shore electrical generation requiring the transmission of power to shore-based electrical grids. The SEADOG Pump captures energy from ocean swells or waves to pump seawater to land-based or sea-based holding areas, where the water can be returned to the ocean through turbines, thereby producing inexpensive, renewable electricity. Adding the ability to store the water and use it when needed will allow the SEADOG Pump to be a primary source of power that can match supply with demand. Other renewable energy technologies are considered to be secondary sources of power due to their intermittency issues. Preliminary estimates based on results from the sea trial suggest that a 1 square mile field of SEADOG Pumps could generate anywhere from 30 megawatts to more than 1,500 megawatts of electricity on average, depending on the wave regime. That electricity could power between 24,000 to more than 1.3 million U.S. households(1), while requiring no fossil fuel and emitting zero carbon dioxide or pollution into the atmosphere.
- Based on latest U.S. Department of Energy statistics as of 2006. The average U.S. household consumes 11,000 kilowatt hours per year.