Wave Snakes


2100 tons of steel were put in the ocean 3 miles off Portugal yesterday.  Don’t worry this is a good thing.  Three steel snakes,  each over 450ft long, will slither on the surface.  The articulation of the four sections of each snake by the waves will be converted into power, enough currently for 1,000 homes.  Plans are to add 25 more to the area to generate up to 21MW of power.  The idea and construction comes from Pelamis, a British-owned company. 


Dr. M (1729 Posts)

Craig McClain is the Assistant Director of Science for the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center, a National Science Foundation supported initiative. He has conducted deep-sea research for 20 years and published over 50 papers in the area. He has participated in and led dozens of oceanographic expeditions taken him to the Antarctic and the most remote regions of the Pacific and Atlantic. Craig’s research focuses on how energy drives the biology of marine invertebrates from individuals to ecosystems, specifically, seeking to uncover how organisms are adapted to different levels of carbon availability, i.e. food, and how this determines the kinds and number of species in different parts of the oceans. Craig’s research has been featured on National Public Radio, Discovery Channel, Fox News, National Geographic and ABC News. In addition to his scientific research, Craig also advocates the need for scientists to connect with the public and is the founder and chief editor of the acclaimed Deep-Sea News (http://deepseanews.com/), a popular ocean-themed blog that has won numerous awards. His writing has been featured in Cosmos, Science Illustrated, American Scientist, Wired, Mental Floss, and the Open Lab: The Best Science Writing on the Web. His forthcoming book, Science of the South (http://www.scienceofthesouth.com/), connects cultural icons of South such as pecan pie with the science behind them.

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4 comments on “Wave Snakes
  1. Cool. I heard about this project some time ago on the Naked Scientists podcast. IIRC they interviewed one of the lead designers of the system. Glad to see it deployed.

  2. I enjoy keeping up with technologies such as these. I envision the wonders of seasteading; setting up shop in international waters with your needs met by solar cells, wind turbines, and the powers of tides and waves. Couple that with technologies, such as generating fresh drinking water by either pulling humidity from the air or using reverse osmosis on seawater, creating biofuel from maine algae, and farming captive schools of fish. While taking from the sea one could give something back, in the form of artificially generated “electric reefs”. Space is not the final frontier.

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