Huge Rubber Snake is No Joke, Generates Power From Waves

Illustration for article titled Huge Rubber Snake is No Joke, Generates Power From Waves

For some reason or other, we've shown you a lot of robotic snakes here on Giz. But this new one is kind of a robot snake in reverse: it's designed to float just beneath the surface of the sea and capture wave energy, which it then turns into electrical power. A science team in the UK has been working on the design, and is now testing small versions in a test tank: ultimately the "real" machines would be 23 feet across and 650 feet long, and be able to generate 1 megawatt. Check out the video to see how "Anaconda" works.


Basically the rubber snakes are moored at the right height to bend as a wave rolls past, generating a bulge in the sea water inside. This gets pushed down the tube by the wave to a generator built into the tail end.

A full-scale device would be able to generate enough power for 1,000 homes, and the developers at the University of Southampton think it may be more resilient than other wave-generators due to its lower moving part count, and the fact that it's made mostly of materials that resist salt-water corrosion.

Plus, it looks satisfyingly sci-fi, in a scary surprise for divers kinda way. [New Scientist]


@michaelwiggins: If someone is stupid enough to speedboat over a region of the ocean designated for megawatt generating rubber snakes, I'd be willing to let Darwin decide their fate...