There are draw backs to any form of energy generation, as anytime you convert energy you inadvertently disturb other things and thus, the side effects are noticed. With fossil fuels there are pollution issues to deal with for instance. With nuclear power we must deal with the waste and spent fuel-rods, and the potential for radiation leakage.
With wind turbine generation there are issues with bird kills, dead bats, and an ugly skyline say some. What about ocean wave energy surely there will be drawbacks there as well, right, I mean nothing is perfect when it comes to energy conversion. Okay so, let’s talk about this, as the topic came up recently at our think tank.
Now then, first, I’d like to state right away that I am VERY PRO-Ocean Wave Energy Generation. Why you ask? Well, water is 750 times denser than air and unlike wind generation, the ocean waves never stop. They are constant and for all we know from the geological record, the ocean has been in motion non-stop for billions of years. That’s pretty reliable energy if you were to ask me. So, what are the drawbacks? Well, there are very few from what I can tell, but let me take a stab at it.
If you ask anyone about this, their obvious answer might be that it hurts sea life or kills fish. However, after reviewing 100s of designs, I’d have to say that this charge of “fish-kill” is a false one, and that most ocean wave generation schemes are near zero fish-kill. Let me present a different challenge, one which no one is talking about and our think tank cannot find any studies or research with empirical evidence.
This detrimental side effect would be apropos to ONLY very large scale “future” ocean wave generation infrastructure. I say “future” because there are no large scale human ocean wave generation systems currently in use that would, as of yet at least, cause this issue. The issue I speak of has to do with oxygen-depleted dead zones. Right now, ocean waves bring in nutrients to dead zones, and help take away and mix the water to mitigate this challenge.
However, if in the future we build big gigantic energy infrastructure utilizing waves we might significantly slow down the water flows allowing for increased dead zone degradation. This is something we need to study, and mitigate and once we do I say to the ocean energy generation engineers; bring it on! And, let’s go big. Please consider all this and think on it.