Drawing energy from the seas

The oceans hold a lot of untapped energy that is seen by many as a source of renewable energy for society, particularly as it tries to draw itself away from renewables.

It may be a long time before any ship is able to generate significant electricity from the seas in which it sails, the WWL Orcelle project back ion 2008 was one of the first concept designs to hint at such a future) but there have been a significant number of projects that have tried, to varying degrees of success, to vcreate electrocity from the seas.

From the point of view of maritime sptial planning this could be seen as a potetial factor for the future, just as offshore windpower hs become. The European Union for exampl has said that up to 10% of the renewable power the region creates cuould come from the oceans by 2050.

But are ocean renewables going to be a formidable part of creating a relevant  maritime cadestre in the future? How will this embryonic industry interplay with the existing maritime industry?

Plans to build an energy island were revealed earlier this year, and made Fathom-News.  But there are increasing number of ocean energy projects that ship managers will need to be aware of as society builds up its dependence on renewable energy.

So Fathom has compiled a list of 20 or so projects that have been working on various ways to create energy from the seas. There’s tidal power, wave power and ocean current power. There are also plans for thermal energy power, harnessing temperature differences.

The one benefit of tidal and current power is the predictability of the tides and currents (tides can be predicted to an 18 year cycle). Wave power is of course windpower, stored in the oceans.

Some of these are on the road to success and may appear in a port, estuary or bay soon. Others still need resources for research and development, and with a continued run on lower than expected crude oil prices, may yet fail. Some of them have failed with efforts thwarted by lack of investment, national policies and the oil price. One company is reported to have failed after its intellectual property was stolen and a similar design suddenly appeared on the other side of the world.


Tidal Power

Andritz Hydro Hammerfest (UK)

 Atlantis Resources Group


Magellanes Renovables (Spain)

Minesto (Sweden)



Nova innovation (UK)

Open Hydro  

Scotrenewables (UK)

Sea-Lix  (Norway)

Sustainable Marine Energy


Tocardo (Nl)             


Wave Energy



CalWave Power (USA)


Carnegie Clean Energy  (Aus)

Cor Ocean Power (Sweden)


Eco Wave Power (Israel)

Marine Power Systems (UK)

Ocean Harvest Technologies (Sweden)

Ocean Power technologies (USA)

Seabased (DK)


Thermal Energy

Ocean Thermal Energy Corporation USA   

OTE has an idea to generate power from the temperature differences of different parts of a body of water. It is one of the few  ocean renewable companies to be listed in a stock market. The company has designed an  “Ocean Thermal Electrical Conversion” power plant and a Seawater Air Conditioning  plants. These technologies provide solutions for mankind’s most fundamental needs: clean drinking water, plentiful food, and sustainable, af…








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