A German company is creating a hybrid renewable energy system that incorporates wind, solar, and wave energy. The design's immense versatility and efficiency could revolutionize the renewable energy industry.
Contrary to what some may believe, the best type of renewable energy is not a single answer, but dependent on location, weather patterns, and various other factors.
For example, wind energy is best suited for landlocked states with flat terrain and high winds. On the other hand, solar power is a better option for desert-like states with high levels of sunshine annually. It depends on which factors a specific location offers, the current technology available to a given area, and the budget.
That said, a German renewable energy company is currently looking to target multiple factors to create the ultimate cluster of renewable energy, and it's shown thus far to be highly successful.
The Trifecta of Renewables
SINN Power was founded in 2014 with the goal of making wave power more accessible and more affordable. Since their launch, they have gained notoriety and awards for their research in the field.
The company is also working on a revolutionary design that would incorporate wave energy, solar energy, and wind energy into one mega-grid named the Ocean Hybrid Platform (OHP). They formally announced the project and technical information earlier this year via webinar.
SINN Power took inspiration from the task of making floating solar arrays more accessible in saltwater, a feat not easily accomplished. "While freshwater floating PV is being installed in more than 40 countries worldwide, seawater floating PV is a new market. In contrast to freshwater floating PV, providers of seawater floating PV are confronted with harsh environments, where the widely known conventional systems will fail."
This motivation resulted in SINN creating a flexible design suited to accommodate harsh weather conditions, choppy water, even potential hurricane resistance.
The Ocean Hybrid Platform has impressive specs that allow for alteration in size, flooring, and other factors that can aid in successful implementation worldwide. In addition, the platform contains sensors that can be monitored and controlled remotely to ensure it's operating correctly and efficiently.
Dr. Phillipp Sinn, SINN Power's CEO, says, "Potential use cases for project developers include the complementation of offshore wind parks to increase baseload capacity, providing RE to aquacultures, the hydrogen production, or simply producing electricity for coastal areas, remote islands and many more."
The company has been tinkering with the project since the mid-to-late-2010s, testing component feasibility off the Greek port of Heraklion.
Though impressive, the German company isn't the first to strike this idea. The European Union has been prospectively eyeing a hybrid renewable energy design via its EU-SCORES clean power initiative. Like the Irish Western Star, smaller-scaled companies have also dabbled in incorporating wind energy with wave energy to create the ultimate renewable energy array.
Infinite Energy Sources
Solar energy has long seen its time in the spotlight. From gaining mainstream notoriety at the turn of the century to becoming the central component in many renewable energy proposals from nonprofits, individuals, and governments around the globe, this energy option is forecasted to continue across the next decade.
This renewable energy source is harvested via photovoltaic solar panels installed in open fields, buildings, even national monuments. The device works by capturing solar radiation, converting it to usable energy, and then sending the power directly to a grid or battery to store it for future use.
The price of solar energy has decreased significantly since the early 2010s, making it more accessible than ever. Still, the source faces notable challenges, including land availability, maintenance, end-of-life disposal, and complete reliability.
Wind energy has gained equal popularity. In concept, it's a relatively simple process. Giant wind turbines are situated in areas with accommodating wind patterns. When the wind blows strong enough, it turns a turbine and generates energy. Like solar, this energy can be used directly or stored for future use.
Wind energy also shares the challenges of solar, land availability, lack of reliability during off-peak weather patterns, cost, and maintenance.
Perhaps the lesser-known of the three is wave energy, which has only begun to gain the recognition it deserves.
Wave energy is generally harvested in two ways: collecting them in a reservoir containing a low-elevation turbine or condensing large waves into narrow canals, increasing their power to run turbines.
Far less research has been completed on wave energy than solar and wind. There is still immense room for improvement in operations and cost. Still, wave energy is efficient and relatively reliable since ocean and wind conditions are almost always ideal.
SINN Power's design aims to mitigate many of the flaws mentioned above by creating an all-encompassing durable and reliable platform. The plan will be more accessible to coastal areas that lack excess land or infrastructure to handle on-shore renewable energy and are expected to produce more power.
The design is still in the works, but we can expect to hear more promising news in the future.
Meanwhile, innovative thinking like the hybrid platform provides hope for a future no longer riddled with excess atmospheric emissions and reliant on the finite resource that is fossil fuels.