The Development of Wave Energy in China

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Introduction

With the growing concern over the emission of greenhouse gas and the depletion of fossil in roughly a hundred years (Guo, 2010), greater emphasis are placed on the utilization the renewable clean energy, such as solar energy, wind energy, hydro energy, biomass energy. Wave power, as one of inexhaustible clean energies, stands out prominently due to high efficiency and low capital cost. As a result, Sea wave power has been increasingly viewed in many countries as a competitive and promising energy resource(You, 2003).

China’s engagement in the study of wave energy conversion since 1970’s has made significant progress in fueling China’s fast growing economy. And there is still great potential of further exploitation of wave energy as about 7×1010 W of wave energy is technological accessible in the near shore of China. Development and deployment of wave power help phase in the energy structure swift ‘from coal-dominance to more shares of clean energy types’ to tackle the problem of energy crisis and environmental pollution in a cost-effective manner (reference from Beijing Foreign Affairs Office).

This term paper focuses on the conditions, progress and challenges of utilizing wave energy in China. Firstly it discusses the physical concepts of sea wave energy, including the basic process, relative merits and several common converters. The main part then elaborates on the reasons and situations for China to exploit wave power. It finally concludes from the progress of utilization that wave power has a vast developing foreground and an infinite market potential in China.

Physical Features of Wave Power

As one of the mechanical waves, the ocean waves are generated by wind blowing vastly enough over the sea surface and transferring energy from wind to wave(Guo, 2010). Specifically, the formation of waves is due to ‘the tangential stress on the interface between the wind and sea’(Guo, 2010), intensified by ‘the wind blows on the upwind side of the wave which cause pressure different between upwind and downwind of wave(Guo, 2010).

While energy transformation takes place in macrocosm and transverse aspect, changes of energy magnitude exist in microcosm and longitudinal regard. Under the action of wind and gravity, the particle moves in circle in deep water while moves elliptically in shallow water. Dimensions of particle trajectories decrease exponentially as the depth increase in both deep water and shallow water(Guo, 2010). Typically these paths will become very small at a water depth larger than a few wavelengths in the deep water (Chow, 2012), which means that the larger orbits on the sea surface contain more wave energy than those in the deeper location. Consequently, ‘the wave energy is stored in the ocean worldwide and highly concentrated near the ocean surface’(Guo, 2010).

The above-mentioned kinetic energy and potential energy generated by sea surface waves is referred to as ocean wave energy("Wave Energy Development," 2006). Huge amount of energy is stored in waves, consisting of 94% energy of the ocean stored in the waves and the other 6% in tidal energy(Guo, 2010). Generally speaking, wave power cannot convert to electricity directly like wind energy. ‘Wave energy should first be captured and converted into useful mechanical energy and then use this form of mechanical energy to generate electricity’(Guo, 2010), which might cause energy loss during conversion.

Three determinants of energy output are wave height, wave speed, wavelength, and water density. …

Relative Advantage and Disadvantages

The technology of producing electricity from sea waves is innovative and a leading method worldwide. Environmental pollution and global warming as a result of fossil fuel consumption have turned people to make use of largest world resource to create electricity, namely, sea waves. Comparing with other renewable clean energies, wave power has relative high-lightened merits as...
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