Ocean waves are a form of wind energy that is concentrated within surface seawater. Friction develops between air and water as wind blows across the water, and waves are produced as energy is transferred between these two elements. Taking the motion of the waves, and translating it into mechanical or electrical energy, generates energy from waves.
There are 2 types of instruments that can generate electricity from wave energy: floaters and sitters. Salter's Duck and Cockerell's Raft are examples of floaters and Vickers 'Duct' is an example of a sitter. The Salters Duck design can extract approximately 90% of the energy from a wave. It is made up of a chain of about 25 floats. As they bob up and down on the water a pump is driven and electricity is generated. Cockerells Raft generates electricity by placing lines of rafts at right angles to the wave front. Between the rafts are hydraulic motors or pumps, which convert the energy to high pressure that then drives the turbines. Vickers 'Duct' consists of a submerged tube in which water rises and falls. As the internal pressure changes water is squirted out and electricity generated.
The UK is situated in the path of strong winds from the Atlantic, creating large waves. There is therefore the potential to exploit a great deal of energy from wave power. Further financial investment is necessary to aid the future development of wave energy.