Support structure 16 is secured to the ocean floor 12 by use of a foundation 30. Foundation 30 preferably extends a substantial depth below the ocean floor 12 sufficient to hold generator 10 in a fixed position. According to a second aspect of the present invention, a wave power generator is provided and includes a support structure fixed to a floor of a body of water, the support structure including a pair of telescoping members that are movable relative to each other, effective to adjust a length of the support structure; a hydraulic assembly that is operatively coupled to the support structure and adapted to cause the telescoping members to move relative to each other, thereby adjusting the length of the support structure; a hydraulic piston assembly that is attached to the support structure and that contains an amount of pressurized fluid; a buoyant floatation device that is attached to the hydraulic piston assembly and that is adapted to move upward in response to a rising wave and downward under the force of gravity in response to a falling wave, the downward motion being effective to discharge pressurized fluid from the hydraulic piston assembly; a hydraulically driven power generator that receives the discharged pressurized fluid from the chamber, and utilizes the pressurized fluid to generate electrical power; and a control system that is communicatively coupled to the hydraulic assembly and that is adapted to monitor water conditions and to cause the hydraulic assembly to dynamically adjust the length of the support structure based on the monitored water conditions.
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Controller 98 may monitor sensors 100 and/or data from antenna/receiver unit 102 to determine the optimal amount of fluid pressure and/or discharge rate to be provided to the generator 26. Controller 98 may communicate control signals to valve 95, effective to control the rate at which fluid is discharged from reservoir 22 to generator 26. For example, in relatively strong wave conditions (e.g., when sensors 100 detect a relatively large wave peak to trough distance), controller 98 and valve 95 may cooperatively cause a higher rate of fluid discharge to the power generator 26, since the compression stroke of the piston assembly 18 will be larger and provide a greater amount of displaced pressurized fluid.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION Waves contain a large amount of energy, which if converted into electricity, can help serve the world’s increasing demands for electrical power. Many attempts have been made to harness the energy contained in waves and convert that energy into electrical power. However, it should be appreciated that the wave power generator 10 can also function and produce desirable levels of electricity in other locations. However, in alternate embodiments, the length (L) of the support structure 16 may be adjusted in any other suitable manner.
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For example, sensors 100 may comprise one or more pressure sensors that are attached to support structure 16 at some point below the water surface. Additionally, these devices typically rely only on the rising crests of waves and/or in the resulting changes in pressure to generate electricity, and do not utilize the force of gravity. These attempts include shoreline type generators, which are constructed at or near the shoreline, and offshore generators, which are constructed beyond the breaker zone and/or in the deep sea.
Furthermore, these devices are typically unable to dynamically adjust their operation to optimize power generation based upon water conditions. It should therefore be appreciated that the wave power generator 10 provides an improved wave power generator that utilizes gravitational force (e.g., the substantial gravitational force produced by the falling floatation device 20) as a primary component in a power generation process. Dolor muscular estres . Preferably, floatation device 20 is made as heavy as possible while retaining buoyancy. The system may include a hydraulic piston assembly, a floatation device that is connected to the piston assembly, high and low pressure hydraulic reservoirs, and a hydraulically driven power generator. High pressure reservoir 22 and low pressure reservoir 24 are conventional hydraulic reservoirs, which are adapted to selectively receive, hold and discharge hydraulic fluid. Conduits 68, 70 and 72 allow pressurized fluid to flow in and out of chamber 56. Conduit 68 fluidly couples the upper chamber 58 to the lower chamber 60. Conduit 70 fluidly couples the lower chamber 60 to the high pressure reservoir 22. Conduit 72 fluidly couples the low pressure reservoir 24 to the upper chamber 58. Each of the conduits may include conventional check and/or flow valves that are designed to control the flow of fluid throughout the system and to prevent backflow.
After the fluid passes through generator 26, it is communicated to the low pressure reservoir 24 by way of conduit 96. Low pressure reservoir 24 holds the charging fluid during the down stroke and allows for pressure bleed off. As the flotation device 20 rides an upward wave swell, fluid is exchanged with low resistance between the upper charging chamber 58 and the lower charging chamber 60 through conduit 68. As the wave 14 begins to fall, the force of gravity acts on the relatively heavy floatation device 20, pulling the piston 62 downward.
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In some embodiments, the piston assembly may be pivotally connected to the main platform and/or to the floatation device 20. FIG. In the preferred embodiment, control system 28 includes a controller 98 and a plurality of sensors 100. Controller 98 is communicatively coupled to sensors 100 and to hydraulic assembly 42. Control system 28 may further include an antenna/receiver assembly 102 for receiving electromagnetic transmissions, which may provide information for controlling the operation of wave power generator 10. Dolor de dedo gordo del pie izquierdo . In the preferred embodiment, controller 98 may comprise a conventional microprocessor-based controller operating under stored program control. The wave power generator 10 is effective to convert the energy present in the waves or swells 14 into electrical power. According to a third aspect of the present invention, a method for converting energy from waves formed in a body of water is provided.
Where certain elements of the present invention can be partially or fully implemented using known components, only those portions of such known components that are necessary for an understanding of the present invention will be described, and detailed descriptions of other portions of such known components will be omitted so as not to obscure the invention. The piston assembly may be supported at a certain height above a bottom of the body of water. The data may be processed in a conventional manner by controller 98 and used to determine an optimal length (L) for structure 16 and/or optimal fluid flow characteristics for the hydraulic assembly 15, based on expected water conditions. Antenna/receiver unit 102 comprises a conventional antenna 104 for receiving electromagnetic signals and a receiver 106 for amplifying and/or processing the signals, and communicating the signals to controller 98. The signals may include conventional weather broadcasts and marine advisories which may provide data describing weather, water, wave and tidal conditions.
The locking mechanism 130 includes a locking bar 134 and a spring-loaded hydraulic actuator 136, which is fixedly attached to member 36 and operates by receiving hydraulic pressure from assembly 42. Preferably, the locking mechanism is in a normally closed state (i.e., it is in a fail safe locked position when no pressure is applied to actuator 136), and opens in response to receiving hydraulic pressure. Member 32 includes a generally solid lower portion 36, which is fixedly attached to foundation 30, and a generally hollow upper portion 38, which slidably receives member 34. Upper portion 38 of member 32 forms an inner chamber 40 that may be filled with pressurized hydraulic fluid, in order to selectively and dynamically raise and lower member 34 relative to member 32. Particularly, a conventional hydraulic assembly 42 may be fluidly coupled to chamber 40 by way of one or more conduits 44. Hydraulic assembly 42 may include one or more reservoirs and electronically actuatable valves (not shown) that cooperate to selectively communicate pressurized hydraulic fluid to and from chamber 40 in a known manner by way of conduit(s) 44. Hydraulic assembly 42 operates under control of control system 28, as discussed more fully and completely below.
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Floatation device 20 is made from a buoyant but relatively heavy material. The floatation device moves upward in response to rising waves, and downward under the force of gravity in response to falling waves. Foundation 30 may be formed from a conventional durable and dense material, such as reinforced concrete. Although offshore generators may provide a greater amount of energy, they suffer from some drawbacks. It is understood that the invention is not limited by the exact construction or method illustrated and described above but that various changes and/or modifications may be made without departing from the spirit and/or the scope of Applicants’ inventions. Tengo mucho dolor en la parte baja de la espalda . The resulting rotation of the turbine(s) is used to create electrical power, in the manner described above. In alternate embodiments, the power generator 26 may be replaced with other devices that can be driven by pressurized fluid and/or rotary motion, such as a pump, desalination system and/or other mechanical, electrical or electromechanical devices.
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Another advantage of the invention is that it provides a wave energy converter that is selectively and dynamically adjustable to optimize the generation of power based on the current status of wave and/or swell activity. A control system is used to detect water conditions and to selectively adjust the length of the support structure and the fluid flow characteristics to dynamically optimize power generation based on changing water conditions. Shoreline generators are generally easier to construct, but produce less energy than offshore generators, which are able to capture the greater amount of energy available in deeper water. The pressure sensors may be adapted to sense changes in pressure based on the water level (e.g., when the water level is high, the sensors will sense an increased pressure). Sensors 100 may alternatively comprise an array of moisture sensors. For example, the turbine(s) may be coupled to and/or form a portion of a magnetic rotor assembly having a plurality of poles (e.g., north and south permanent and/or soft magnetic members).
FIG. 5 is a side view of one embodiment of a pivot and damper assembly for connecting a float to the piston assembly of the generator shown in FIG. The damper 150 will allow float 20′ to pivot in a controlled manner as the wave passes through the generator 10. In this manner, the damper 150 and pivoting float 20′ operate to optimize energy transfer between the wave and generator 10 during the upstroke. The damper 140 allows piston assembly 18′ to pivot in a controlled manner as the wave passes through the generator 10. In this manner, the damper 140 and pivoting piston assembly 18′ operate to optimize energy transfer between the wave and generator 10 during the upstroke. The wave energy converter is selectively adjustable in length.