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MHD Wave Energy Conversion (MWEC)

  SARA welcomes outside investment in our alternative energy research  


The Technology

SARA has developed a cost-effective solution to energy extraction from ocean waves that is based on the company’s patented magnetohydrodynamics (MHD) generator (US Patents 7,166,927 & 5,136,173). The application of this technology promises to cut the costs of wave energy conversion (WEC) systems by a factor of three. With low capital and operating costs the SARA MWEC system has the potential to finally capitalize on this abundant and renewable energy resource. 

SARA has designed, built and tested a 100 kW MHD generator that is a laboratory demonstration of a MWEC design and is also developing a deep-ocean-moored concept that is based on the MHD generator. This combination will lead to the development of cost-effective, rapidly deployable systems not only for coastal communities, but also for deep ocean applications for the Navy and the offshore oil industry.

100 KW laboratory prototype MWEC system while under development

The Applications

Several different applications of the SARA MWEC system are envisioned:

  • Farms of SARA MWEC systems near the shore powering the onshore electricity grid
  • Rapidly deployable, cost-effective energy systems for military applications such as UUV docking stations or temporary power for remote sites
  • Reliable deep-ocean power-generation systems for remote subsea wellheads

100 KW laboratory prototype MWEC system during testing at SARA in March 2007

The Advantages

SARA’s MWEC system brings a number of advantages.

  • Efficiency
  • Performs in low seastate
  • It is compact, rapidly and easily deployable, reliable, and efficient.
  • It has no gears, levers, turbines, drive belts, bearings, transmission, etc.
  • Capital needs and maintenance costs are low.
  • Ocean wave energy conversion can provide clean, cost-effective, always “on” electricity for remote coastal villages such as the ones in Alaska or Hawaii.
  • It does away with diesel generators and associated fuel spills, noise, and local air pollution.
  • MWEC systems will work through the winter months, eliminating the need to fill fuel tanks in the winter.
  • MWEC systems are quiet, have zero greenhouse gas emissions, and are non-obtrusive in a village setting.
  • Eliminates the need to build electrical transmission infrastructure into remote areas.

For Further Reading: PDFMWEC Information Sheet

  SARA welcomes outside investment in our alternative energy research