Endless amounts of clean energy also always available. This is the goal of the Ocean Grazer project of the University of Groningen. Two scientists from the University of Groningen, Antonis Vakis and Bayu Jayawardhana, have been nominated for the Huibregtsen Prize 2021 with their research project “Harvesting Infinite Wave Energy with Ocean Grazer”.
The Ocean Grazer, an invention by University of Groningen scientist Wout Prins, converts the endless motion of waves into energy. It doesn’t matter how high the waves are. The Ocean Grazer consists of a group of floating buoys, for example around a wind turbine.
The Ocean Grazer is connected to the Ocean Battery, which is a battery on the sea floor. The wave energy is converted into hydraulic energy, which is then stored in the battery. “By ‘releasing’ hydraulic energy onto a dynamo, the ocean battery generates electricity, just like a hydroelectric plant. This electricity can be generated when it is most needed,” says scientist Jayawardhana in Dagblad van Het Norden.
In a report, the jury said: “Antonis Vakis and Payu Jayawardhana have successfully transformed the endless swell of the sea into an infinite source of energy.” “Recently, the first proof of concept for the Ocean Grazer was successfully developed on behalf of the Groningen seaports in Emshavn. It is commendable that extracting renewable energy for the oceans does not require additional space because the Ocean Grazer can be combined with offshore wind farms.”
Ocean battery research and improvement is still in full swing. In the next test phase, the battery will be tested in a sandpit. The intent is to have the system operational in 2023.
Prize Winner Bert Feringa Impact
This isn’t the first time that (possibly) an Ocean Grazer has been awarded: Ocean Grazer also won the first Ben Feringa Impact Award from the University of Groningen in November 2020.
A total of six research projects have been nominated for the Huibregtsen Prize. On October 4, 2021, the Chair of the Jury, KNAW President Ineke Sluiter, will announce the winner during the Science and Society Evening at the Nieuwe Kerk in The Hague.