Synthetic Seabeds May Power Cities of TomorrowWave energy isn't a new concept. There are power plants out there already harnessing the power of the crashing waves to power homes. But it turns out that the environmental conditions of floating at the top of the ocean make it hard to keep generators in working condition, and that they might just have a negative impact on sea life.
Which is why one researcher is proposing relocating them to the sea floor.
It turns out that the pull at the bottom of the ocean is just as great as at the surface. Waves, as they move, pull on the mud at the ocean's floor. So by dropping the generator underwater to the seabed, you are removing an eyesore, reducing a boating hazard, and interfering less with the life in the upper reaches of the ocean.
Of course, there will still be an environmental impact, and coating the ocean in a viscoelastic seabed carpet" made of springs and generators might do more to damage the ocean than floating buoys would. Then there's the fact that repair would be all but impossible. While there might not be crashing waves, wind, birds and other hazards, underwater conditions are often even worse. When coupled with a technology that is meant to be almost unreachable and, well, you don't have a pretty situation. Then there is the fact that this proposal is still purely theoretical, existing only in a paper published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society.
But it is a novel new way to generate large amounts of power, and it does solve the problem of real estate that surface power buoys have. You can imagine layers of these things designed to rob waves of their power layering large swaths of the seabed powering homes along the coast. That is an image not capable with floating power buoys.