Sea Wave Power Plants is in the final stages of building its second power station in Guangzhou, China
A cliff north of Herzliya Photo: Sharon Udasin
An Israeli firm that aims to harness the natural energy provided by sea waves as they lap the shore is in the final stages of building its second such power station in China for the coastal city of Guangzhou.

The company, SDE Sea Wave Power Plants, is concluding construction on its second plant in a series of three for China, which will generate 150 kilowatts per hour using the energy of ocean waves and will be followed by a third such plant that generates 500 kW per hour. In recent days, SDE signed a $1.2 million agreement with its Chinese partners for the export of the second plant to Guangzhou, said SDE.

This is the 12th such model to be constructed by the company since its inception, and the company maintains a model at its home plant in Israel, which simulates the movement of waves, from which the systems are able to harvest energy.

SDE’s power plants operate automatically, using a hydro-pneumatic circular system with an engine and buoys that enable the use of waves at their rise and fall, as well as the return from breakwaters. This way, the system can be more efficient, and generate as much energy as possible from a single wave, according to the company.

The motion of the waves creates hydraulic pressure, causing a generator to spin and creating energy in the process. While this process does incorporate hydraulic oil, the company stressed that this type of oil is environmentally friendly and does not cause any damage to underwater plants and animals.

Since CEO and inventor Shmuel Ovadia established SDE 16 years ago, the company has built 11 models in addition to the newest one, and has signed cooperation agreements not only with China, but also with countries such as Chile, Mexico, Zanzibar, Kenya, El Salvador, Thailand, Ecuador and Myanmar.

Investments to date are approximately $2.5 m.

An independent scientific guide to identify new technologies, PESWiki, recently ranked SDE among the top 100 leading green energy technologies in the world, as well as awarding the company first place for sea wave power technologies.

One added benefit of the technology, says the company, is that it bears low production costs of 2 cents per kilowatt-hour only, though governments are willing to pay between 8 and 44 cents per kWh for use of the system.

Meanwhile, the system is resistant to storms with no risks at all – as only 10% of plant parts are in the water – and because systems use full force of waves to generate electricity according to the rise and fall of the waves, the company said.

Green power generation systems such as SDE’s sea wave plants are crucial to a country like China, where air pollution from fossil fuels remains among the highest in the world, SDE said.

Ovadia, the CEO, told The Jerusalem Post Monday just how beneficial adding such a system would be to a place like India, where a tremendous portion of the country was recently paralyzed after a collapse of the electricity system.

“The whole world is losing electricity,” he said.