Using an artificial blowhole, Wave Swell Energy has been producing 200 kilowatts of electricity connected to the grid at King Island in Bass Strait from the rough seas of Bass Strait for more than two years.
The sunken concrete structure replicates the shape of a blowhole which pushes out ambient air out to cause a spray but creates a powerful vacuum as it recedes.
The unidirectional turbine works by the valve closing as air is sucked in so sea water does not enter the turbine creating a much longer turbine lifespan than a bidirectional turbine.
Built into a seawall, a series of these the company believes could protect shores from rising sea level coastal erosion, something Kiama Council is currently formulating an action plan on. Plans to build a larger version generating I megawatt are underway on King Island’s much rougher west side.