By Sun Li and Hu Meidong
BEIJING, May 12 (Xinhuanet) -- At the end of the month, a new wave-power generator will be put into operation off the coast of Fujian province. The designer believes his 'unique' machine will set new standards for the new-energy industry, report Sun Li and Hu Meidong in Xiamen, Fujian.
The rolling waves and invigorating winds that caress the sandy Yefengzhai beach in Xiamen are well-known tourist attractions in the coastal city in Fujian province.
Wu Mingmao visits the beach every day, not to enjoy the natural beauty, but to test his latest invention－a 100-kilowatt generator that works by wave power.
The entrepreneur has been testing the installation near the beach since December. The mechanical platform that floats on the surface of the water and harnesses wave power, which is then converted into electricity, is scheduled to be fully operational at the end of the month. The 58-year-old, who dived into the wave-power industry in 2003 and is now the general manager of Zhong Hui Ming Electricity Ltd, a private, venture capital-owned company based in Xiamen, said the platform's unique design could prove to be a breakthrough in harnessing wave energy.
Unlike conventional wave-power generators, the installation isn't a sealed unit and has a buoy at each of its four corners, so the forces operating on it are spread evenly and no single spot is subjected to concentrated pressure, Wu explained.
"This means the platform is very reliable. It can not only withstand the constant pressure of surging water, but also harsher conditions such as tsunamis and typhoons," he said.
The steel frame of the installation is covered with an antierosion coating, ensuring a relatively long service life. In addition to the buoys that absorb the power of the waves, the installation also includes a number of wind-driven turbines that provide extra energy to the mix.
"The combination of the two different power sources offers a novel solution to the problem of improving efficiency while also reducing the cost. As far as I know, no other devices used in other countries boast those features," Wu said.