Wave Power Generation From Bicycle Parts

In 2006 Stefan Nyström invented the WaveReaper and released his plans online in 2008. This invention used parts of a bicycle to reap energy from the ocean waves. It surprised me that not much has happened since then, so I thought I’d write a little about it.

Context

Electricity generation is one of humanities greatest indirect requirements. It’s used for literally everything:

  • Farming
  • Hospitals
  • Refining Fuel
  • Lights

In developing nations, electricity is not generally available, especially in rural areas. Cheap, easy to produce and sustainable energy is something most of the world still needs.

Invention Summary

The WaveReaper is an invention that generates electricity from the motion of the waves on a coastline. It uses barrels which float on the water and produce electricity back on the shore.

Simplistic animation of the WaveReaper system

System Design

This system is broken down into 5 main parts which; when combined provide a cheap solution, utilising resources easily obtainable in developing parts of the world.

1. Bouys

The systems reach begins in the water. Bouys are used in the water to provide the force to generate power. Barrels are intended, but actually anything bouant could be used, as long as it’s bouyant and durable.

Bouy dynamics

2. Bouy Lines

The bouy’s are connected to bouy-lines which run back to shore. These lines are intended to be strong wires, but non-stretch rope could also be used.

3. Sea Pully

For the system to get the maximum force from the vertical motion of the waves, the pully needs to be located underwater. This means the bouy’s will pull the bouy-lines upward against the pully below. The pully is attached to something heavy in the water and is made from rust resistant materials.

Sea-pully

4. Fly Wheel Generator

This is the most complex part of the system and is a axel based generate with a fly wheel to even out the power output. As a bouy floats up and down, it pulls on a one-way bearing which turns the fly wheel for the motor.

5. Slack Weights

The slack-weights are used to recover slack in the bouy-lines when the bouys are sinking in the bottom of waves. Then the bouys can pull up on a wave as the line the one-way bearings allow the slack-weights to pull freely in one-direction and the fly-wheel generator to recover pulls in other direction.

Bouy dynamics

Cost Breakdown

Item New Cost
1. Bouys $100
2. Bouy Lines $100
3. Sea Pully $100
4. Fly Wheel Generator $100
5. Slack Weights $100

Advantages

There are many advantages of using this invention to generate electricity:

  • Wave energy doesn’t directly depend on sunlight. Therefore it can potentially generate electricity 24/7
  • It’s simple design, allows easier procurement and maintanence.
  • The one-way bearings can be sourced any bicycle.
  • The spindle-driven generator can easily be extracted from many existing machines.