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Wave Power potential

  1. Dec 17, 2015 #1
    Ocean waves are a bit random in frequency and amplitude so I'm just trying lock down a simple scenario to get an idea of the energy potential. Physics math, I know very little.

    Let's say we have a steady wave pattern that lifts 10,000 lbs one foot every 2 seconds. Convert to that to an energy unit, like, horsepower. Can someone give me a formula I can work with for that?

    I'm actually designing a wave powered generator but my specialty is in the hydraulic side of the project.

    Thanks, and if you're interested in the project, message me.
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 17, 2015 #2


    Staff: Mentor

    1 horsepower is 550 foot pound per second.

    There are many wave power projects past and present. A common difficulty is durability. The ocean surface is a harsh environment.
  4. Dec 17, 2015 #3


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    The same as in hydraulics. Simply equate work and energy.
  5. Dec 17, 2015 #4
    Yep, it is harsh. A block of foam is pretty resilient. The power generation is land based as opposed to having the equipment on the ocean. Just a buoy being lifted for this one.

    So, 550 / 2, 10,000 lbs / 225 = 44.4 hp ?
  6. Dec 18, 2015 #5
    With this formula I found here: http://www.iprocessmart.com/techsmart/formulas.htm
    HP =
    Where F = Force (lbs)
    V = Velocity (ft/min)

    Moving 10,000 lbs 1 ft every 2 seconds, 30 ft/min, I get:
    (10,000 lbs x 30 ft/min) / 33,000 = 9.09 HP


    HP = 550 lbs/ft/sec
    10,000 lbs / 2 sec = 5000 lbs/sec
    (5000 lbs/sec)/550 = 9.09 HP

    What is cool about my device is that I'll also capture that 10,000 lb dropping at the same frequency but that side will not be as efficient. But, if I can get 50-60% of that, that will add 9.09 x .5 to the energy potential. Roughly, 15 HP. 15 HP being my target!
  7. Dec 18, 2015 #6


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    Sorry I prefer to work in SI units..

    Power (Watts) = mgh/t

    m is the mass in kg = 4536 kg
    g = 9.8m/s/s
    h is the height in meters = 0.61m
    t is the time = 2 seconds

    Power = 4536 * 9.8 * 0.61/2 = 13,558W

    If you want that in HP then

    750w = 1HP
    13558 / 750 = 18HP
  8. Dec 18, 2015 #7
    That is twice the HP I come up with. Are we combining the energy up AND down?

    I'm using HP because that is the unit I'm familiar with when working with the hydraulic side.
  9. Dec 19, 2015 #8


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    I made a mistake. 0.61m is two feet not one foot. So we get same answer.
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