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⚡ Unlocking the Power of the Ocean

My Climate Journey

Photo by Jeremy Bishop / Unsplash

Table of Contents

Host: Cody Simms
Guest: Marcus Lehmann | Co-Founder & CEO | CalWave
Category: ⚡ Renewable Energy | Wave Energy

Podcast’s Essential Bites:

[13:07] “Wave power has three main advantages. It's more energy dense. We're about 30 to 60 times denser than wind and solar. […] In the US, half of the population lives within 50 miles of the coastline. And overall, we're seeing a trend towards migration towards the coastlines. […] We essentially get a very dense concentrated form of renewable energy delivered right where the population lives. So the cost of additional transmission lines to bring all the renewables in is going to be significantly lower as if we have to produce it in the center of the country and send it […], it's always going to be less efficient.”

[14:21] “The production profile is really beneficial. So we can produce at night, in winter times. And what we often hear is that the winter nights in Europe where sometimes the grid is already more penetrated by solar and wind, and then they have these one or two weeks a year where there's just no wind and soil available. And that's just a big nightmare to be able to fill that with renewable and storage. People are working on seasonal long term storage, but from an economic perspective, total system cost, is it going to be the optimum system if I use my storage battery only once a year and it doesn't generate revenue all other times?”

[15:53] “60% of US electricity demand could be provided by ocean power. And about half or 60% of that is wave power. […] So in summary, about 30% of US electricity demand could be met with wave power.”

[16:18] “Wave power is not as far as wind and solar […] for several reasons. One, […] it's just a resource where you cannot do trial and error. With wind and solar, people just build turbines in the beginning, put it in their backyards, you could do really cheap testing, you can do testing in controlled environments. In our case, we need ocean size waves, they are sometimes 100-160 meter long, and there's just no test environment where you can generate that size of waves and turn it on and off. And so what the industry really needs is a level of engineering that is similar to what the oil and gas companies have been able to do with oil platforms. […] And so it just takes that level of focused engineering and a certain minimum amount of capital.”

[17:47] “The second is really, we were lacking a design that is capable of meeting the same criteria as our modern wind turbine. So from a really high level perspective, if we look at the wind turbine from a product perspective, what it does is it produces electricity really efficiently most of the time. And then sometimes when the wind gets too strong, it is able to shut down, so it becomes invisible to storms. And that really led to an economical design.”

[20:30] “CalWave […] is a marine energy developer. We provide technology to harness wave power. […] Our vision [is] to become the leading provider of wave power technology, and specifically unlock the power of ocean waves to secure a clean energy future. And the technology we've developed is wave energy converter, […] so similar to offshore wind turbines, capturing ocean waves. So our system operates fully submerged, we're underwater at all times, and produce power there.

[21:15] “There is a little advantage that we have because we're submerged so we can be closer to shore. For offshore wind, often the nimbyism of the visual impact of wind turbines is a concern. In our case, we can be much closer to shore because we don't cause any visual impact. You don't see us.”

[24:53] “The big opportunity here is that wind in itself, even offshore wind, has a capacity factor of 40 to 50%, meaning half of the year they don't produce at rated power. And so we have a lot of excess capacity here. […] In the US the current target and planned is about 30 gigawatts of offshore wind. Globally, we already have 60 gigawatts. And we're seeing the numbers going up quite a lot like 500 gigawatt by 2030 or so. And so there's a lot of electrical infrastructure that's already in place and not used, and we could fill by co-locating them. We're not planning to mix these farms, […] but we're just being in proximity and using the same substation. […] And that's really an enormous cost reduction, it's about 11% of the total project.”

[51:06] “The IPCC has found that ocean energy is the lowest form of electricity from a lifecycle perspective, exactly because of the energy density. Water is 1,000 times denser than air. And so the amount of materials, steel and equipment you need, is significantly lower. […] The amount of space we need to get to the same amount of […] 20 megawatts […] is about 7% compared to an offshore wind farm.

Rating: ⚡⚡⚡⚡

🎙️ Full Episode: Apple | Spotify | Google (Original Title: "Startup Series: Calwave")
🕰️ 1 hr 4 min | 🗓️ 07/14/2022
✅ Time saved: 1 hr 1 min

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