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Wave energy converters

Abstract : Long before scientists ever put forward a reasoned description of the phenomenon based on fluid mechanics equations, men were aware of the power of ocean waves through observing natural phenomena. This awareness came from navigating at sea and coming into contact with the infamous “freak waves”, or from experiencing the damage caused onshore by storm breakers and tsunamis. The first written record of the desire to exploit this energy, that we have been able to find, is in a French patent dated 1799, entitled: “Pour divers moyen d’employer les vagues de la mer comme moteurs” (Various means of using ocean waves as driving forces) by Messrs. Girard, father and son. We can find traces of other attempts to exploit wave energy in California in the 19th Century, where the Wave-Power Air-Compressing Company in San Francisco built a “wave motor” designed by the American inventor Terence Duffy under a pontoon. At the beginning of the 20th Century, a French engineer, Paul Grasset, conceived of a wave energy conversion process he called the bélier-siphon barométrique (barometric ram-siphon) and commissioned the building of a test station on the coast, to harness what he termed the “impulsions produced by the sea”. Unfortunately, the economic crisis of 1929, followed by the Second World War, would prevent him from finishing his “marine hydrodynamic laboratory”, the ruins of which can still be seen on Cape Saint Martin, at the foot of the Biarritz lighthouse.
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Judicael Aubry, Hamid Ben Ahmed, Bernard Multon, Aurélien Babarit, Alain Clément. Wave energy converters. Bernard Multon. Marine renewable energy handbook, 2011, ⟨10.1002/9781118603185.ch11⟩. ⟨hal-01156751⟩

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