Wave energy conversion: the physics and the applications

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Wave energy may be very important to the renewable energy industry as more traditional green energy sources meet more and more opposition in the political and economic arena. In this post, I’ll show you how ocean waves work, and some of the ways people have been attempting to harness wave energy for use by humans in the form of electricity.

An ocean wave behaves similarly to any other mechanical wave you may encounter, such as a sound wave or a wave you might make with a jump rope or slinky. The key element to any wave is the propagation of energy. That is, the wave serves as a means for energy to move from one place to the other. It’s important to recognize that it is the energy that is being moved, and not the matter. Take a look at the first GIF above. You can see that if you follow a…

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