WaveRoller technology is well positioned to replace environmentally unfriendly power sources with clean and renewable energy generated from ocean waves. Harnessed by WaveRoller, this blue energy source is not only more benign to the environment than fossil fuel technologies but it also poses fewer risks than nuclear energy and is on par with, or even superior to other renewable energy sources. However, since there is still too little operational performance data to fully evaluate the environmental impact of WaveRoller, we continue to monitor, evaluate and review data about the interactions between the devices and their surroundings.
WaveRoller technology leaves a light environmental footprint, making it competitive with wind energy. Wind power requires the movement of air, which has far lower density than water, meaning that wind turbines need more space and undisturbed winds to work effectively. WaveRoller, however utilizes waves, which carry far more energy than the wind in a site of comparable size. WaveRoller technology therefore provides as much as seven times more nominal power generating capacity than a wind turbine in a similar sized area. Hence, the impact on the surrounding environment and any disturbance caused to it can be minimized in cases where WaveRoller is used.
Apart from its low space requirement, WaveRoller devices operate under water, which means that they have very low visual impact. They are typically installed at depths of approximately 8-20 meters and the panel height is designed to minimize or completely eliminate its protrusion above the water surface, ensuring the preservation of the natural beauty of the sea and coastline.
Another characteristic of the WaveRoller panel is that it follows the movement of the water, which is smooth and relatively slow (especially, when compared with the wind). This is important with respect to interaction with marine wildlife. Any potential collisions of marine fauna with the panel are unlikely to result in injuries, as the panel moves slowly and in concert with the water.
The panel is connected to the foundation, which in turn anchors the device to the seabed. The structure is designed to remain hermetically sealed for tens of years and is further equipped with a range of sensors and detectors that provide an alert in the unlikely event that a seal fails. This enclosure further isolates the hydraulic system and protects the marine environment from the noises made by the generator.
At our demonstration wave farm in Peniche, we launched a cooperation with Wave Energy Centre to conduct acoustic and marine habitat studies and evaluation. Even before the research began we were able to demonstrate low environmental impact of WaveRoller. On this basis permission was granted to deploy the installation in Peniche, which lies in a NATURA 2000 area, an EU conservation site.