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Estimating ocean renewable energies for potential harvesting: Report
Dr.G.R.Balakrishnan Feb 08 2022 Maritime Institutions News

Estimating ocean renewable energies for potential harvesting: Report

Researchers from the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay analysed wave data from coastal regions of India to inform choices of location and strategies for setting up wave energy plants. They studied wave data over four decades from the exclusive economic zone (the area of the sea over which a nation-state has the right to access marine resources) of mainland India and islands of Lakshadweep and Andaman and Nicobar to understand the variations in wave power across locations and seasons. The researchers published a report about this in the journal Regional Studies in Marine Science.

Increasing the use of renewable energy sources is essential as the threat of climate change escalates.

Good estimates of power that can be generated using wave energy along the coastline are missing in countries like India, due largely to the practical challenges in collecting in-situ data on ocean energy resources

Wave energy can be converted to electricity

Wave energy can be converted to electricity using floating devices (point absorber buoys) or fixed devices such as turbines. For any type of device, the energy they harvest from an incoming wave is proportional to the height of the wave (technically called significant wave height) and its time period (the time it takes for a wave to pass a point). It is essential for the researchers to estimate these parameters, so as to calculate the wave power availability.

The southern tip of mainland India is best suited to set up wave energy plants

The study showed that the southern tip of mainland India with high levels of wave power and lesser variations is best suited to set up wave energy plants. Availability of wave power is strongly seasonal in the majority of regions along the Indian coastline, with highest during the monsoon months. Since solar energy is abundant during non-monsoon months, the study suggests that a strategy that combines solar and wind power in the corresponding seasons can ensure a continuous supply of sustainable energy for the entire country.

The study also identifies locations along the coastlines of Lakshadweep and Andaman and Nicobar islands with significant wave power values which can possibly be tapped to meet the local energy requirements of these individual isolated islands. These islands are currently dependent on the mainland for fuel supply, leading to severe power shortages. A switch to sustainable and possibly low-cost wave power can reduce the islands’ dependency on the mainland and contribute towards improving the living standards.

Research team

Research scholars Ankita Misra and Satheeshkumar Jeyaraj, and a former summer intern, Haripriya R, carried out the current study under the guidance of Prof. Balaji Ramakrishnan at the Civil Engineering department of IIT Bombay. The lab headed by Prof. Balaji has been working on marine renewable energy sources like waves, tides and currents for about a decade now.