“Anaconda” is not just the name of a big snake anymore; Anaconda is also the name for a new wave-power generating technology. Britain is hoping to release the Anaconda into their coastal waters as an alternative, and renewable energy source. The Anaconda is an invention that could help the UK achieve it’s goal of using 15% renewable energy by 2020, a goal many experts predict they will miss by a mere 1%. (Guardian)
Like the snake, the Anaconda generator has a long and rubbery body capable of wriggling with the waves. Measuring 656 feet in length and with a diameter of 22 feet, Anaconda technology would easily become the biggest sea serpent out there. As one site put it, the generator would be “Of such colossal girth that it would require at least a dozen chorus girls hand in hand to reach around it.” (The Register)
The way that the Anaconda generates power can be related to the way water reacts within a water balloon. If you hit one side of the water balloon a wave would be sent through the rubber giving it a “giggling effect”. Whereas in a water ballon the waves would be passed back and forth, in an Anaconda, a generator attached to one end harnesses the waves energy.
The Anaconda power generating process as described by Science Daily:
“A wave hitting the end squeezes it and causes a ‘bulge wave’ to form inside the tube. As the bulge wave runs through the tube, the initial sea wave that caused it runs along the outside of the tube at the same speed, squeezing the tube more and more and causing the bulge wave to get bigger and bigger. The bulge wave then turns a turbine fitted at the far end of the device and the power produced is fed to shore via a cable.”
The Anaconda’s innovative generation method has been verified in lab test experiments (Video below), and has been supported by Carbon Trust. The Anaconda has not yet seen real action in the seas. Britain is hoping to see the Anaconda swimming by 2014.
Unlike other tidal technology, the Anaconda’s maintenance and production cost are low due to its durable and simplistic structure. The Anaconda would not be susceptible to erosion like other metal machinery because it is made of natural rubber and fabric, the lack of mechanical parts means lower maintenance than it’s tidal generating counterparts.
According Anaconda Engineer Rod Rainey, “If the worst comes to the worst it’ll only be washed up on the beach, and you can patch it up and put it back out there,”
The Anaconda would be anchored to the sea floor, with it’s “mouth” facing the waves, and “tail” generator producing as much as 1 megawatt of power, which could power an estimated thousand homes.
The Anaconda is an exciting technology to watch as it leaves it’s “proof-of-concept trials” and enters into production, and finally implementation.
Watch the videos below to learn more about the Anaconda: