AEM437 Assignment 2 Wave Energy_Essay

AEM437 Assignment 2 Wave Energy_Essay - 03/04/08 AEM 437:...

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03/04/08 AEM 437: Innovation Strategy Professor Leiponen Assignment 2: The Greatest Technological Challenge of Our Time Every day, the activity of humankind around the globe depends on energy harnessed from the earth’s resources. Fossil fuels that have formed over millions of years are used at a rate faster than they can be replenished, and humans will soon be forced to turn to other sources of energy for survival. As the world’s population increases and developing areas require more and more power, the magnitude of this problem grows. Societies must implement new systems before the fuel supplies available today can no longer support the technology people have built over the centuries. While posing an enormous challenge and threat, the imminent energy crisis also presents business opportunities on a global level. Among the various existing alternative energy solutions in development, wave energy is a promising option due to the vast availability of ocean waves and the relatively non-labor intensive processes required to harvest their energy as compared to competing industries such as biofuel. Though there have been many patents to harness the ocean’s energy, serious research efforts began in 1972 with the sharp rise in oil prices due to an oil embargo. This can be considered a discontinuity phase for the energy industry, as well as a beginning point for the wave energy industry specifically. From 1974 to 1983 the British government invested $20 million in wave energy research, which was carried out in large part by the Energy Technology Support Unit at Harwell. During this stage, knowledge about wave energy was shared in Europe through events such as the First Symposium on Wave Energy in Sweden in 1979. In Norway, two wave power plants were installed in 1984 with joint investment from the government and private industry. 1 In this discontinuity phase, leading companies have operated with government funding, with major players in the United Kingdom, other nations in Europe, and parts of Asia. The wave energy industry is currently in its ferment stage, with heavy investment in research and development. Competing technologies including surface following and point source methods of harvesting wave energy have not yet been implemented in large scope efforts. Currently in the U.S. market, Pelamis Wave Power Ltd. is a main player, with investment from
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AEM437 Assignment 2 Wave Energy_Essay - 03/04/08 AEM 437:...

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