OSU’s “direct-drive” buoy approaches allow electrical generators to respond directly to ocean waves. Inside the Permanent Magnet Linear Generator Buoy, wave motion causes specially designed electrical coils to move through a magnetic field, inducing voltages and generating electricity. The Contact-less Force Transmission Generator Buoy uses large, high-strength permanent magnets configured as a “piston.” It transforms linear motion to rotation with a ball screw that drives a permanent magnet rotary generator. In the Permanent Magnet Rack and Pinion Generator Buoy, linear to rotary conversion is developed with permanent magnet gears. Advanced designs will achieve higher efficiencies and power outputs. To further optimize these technologies, the OSU wave energy team is designing linear testbeds for their laboratory to cover power ranges from 100 watts to 250 kilowatts. If approved for funding, the facility will have the largest power capacity of any linear testbed in the world.
- By David Baker