Jul 25 2013


Published by

The wave surge converter operates by drawing energy from waves to generate electricity either at the installation offshore, or by pumping a high pressure liquid or gas onshore for use at a terrestrial generator. 2,3,10 For the surge converters that do not generate electricity at the device site, but instead only transport pressurized fluid onshore, there are no ecological consequences of electromagnetic fields (EMF) from the electricity transmission cables. BioSystems’ converter, the BioWave powers a generator at the device site and transmits electricity back to shore.3 These EMF fields have been known to be disruptive to many marine species, as reported elsewhere on this site.4

 By taking energy from the waves crashing onshore, these surge converters could reduce the effects of sediment transport of both deposition and erosion. The presence of any structure in the nearshore environment affects longshore sediment transport potentially resulting in accelerated deposition or erosion rates. Surge converters are not operational during strong storms to protect the installations. Storms are important to beach geomorphology since they move offshore migrating sandbars further inshore. With a reduction in non-storm wave power from the surge converters, there may be changes in this pattern. If there are changes to the sediment amounts on the shore, it can affect benthic creatures who live in the intertidal zone.11

  Additional effects from the installation of wave surge converters results from the physical presence of the device in the environment. It is difficult to predict how organisms will respond to this new addition, but other studies of ocean energy installations and their impacts indicate there will be few negative effects. The nascent studies of the ecological effects from Scandinavian wind farms suggest that animals, such as fish and marine mammals, avoid areas of construction, but return when the devices are operational.1, 5,6,7,8,9 There hasn’t been a commercial scale installation of wave surge converters yet, nor a decommission, so effects of these stages are still speculative albeit well-founded.4


Oyster 800 operating in large waves off the Scottish coast via http://aquamarinepower.com/news/oyster-800-wave-machine-in-massive-waves/


  1. Aquamarine Power [Internet] c2011-2013 Aquamarine Power : [cited July 2013] Available from: http://www.aquamarinepower.com/
  2. BioWave [Internet] c2013 BioPower Systems: [cited July 2013] Available from: http://www.biopowersystems.com/biowave.html

  3. Frid, Chris, Eider Andonegi, Jochen Depestele, Adrian Judd, Dominic Rihan, Stuart I. Rogers, and Ellen Kenchington. “The environmental interactions of tidal and wave energy generation devices.” Environmental Impact Assessment Review 32, no. 1 (2012): 133-139.

  4. Langhamer, Olivia, Dan Wilhelmsson, and Jens Engström. “Artificial reef effect and fouling impacts on offshore wave power foundations and buoys–a pilot study.” Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science 82, no. 3 (2009): 426-432.
  5. Langhamer, Olivia, and Dan Wilhelmsson. “Colonisation of fish and crabs of wave energy foundations and the effects of manufactured holes–a field experiment.” Marine Environmental Research 68, no. 4 (2009): 151-157.
  6. Langhamer, Olivia. “Effects of wave energy converters on the surrounding soft-bottom macrofauna (west coast of Sweden).” Marine environmental research69, no. 5 (2010): 374-381.
  7. Langhamer, Olivia, Kalle Haikonen, and Jan Sundberg. “Wave power—Sustainable energy or environmentally costly? A review with special emphasis on linear wave energy converters.” Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews14, no. 4 (2010): 1329-1335.
  8. Lindeboom, H. J., H. J. Kouwenhoven, M. J. N. Bergman, S. Bouma, S. M. J. M. Brasseur, R. Daan, R. C. Fijn et al. “Short-term ecological effects of an offshore wind farm in the Dutch coastal zone; a compilation.” Environmental Research Letters 6, no. 3 (2011): 035101.
  9. Resolute Marine Energy [Internet] c2013 Resolute Marine Energy: [cited July 2013] Available from: http://www.resolutemarine.com/
  10. Shields, Mark A., David K. Woolf, Eric PM Grist, Sandy A. Kerr, A. C. Jackson, Robert E. Harris, Michael C. Bell et al. “Marine renewable energy: The ecological implications of altering the hydrodynamics of the marine environment.” Ocean & Coastal Management 54, no. 1 (2011): 2-9.

4 responses so far

Trackback URI | Comments RSS

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.