Medical doctor invents device to tap wave energy


By Cyril Basnayake in Anuradhapura

A senior medical administrator has developed a device which uses wave energy to produce electricity. Wave energy, also known as Ocean Wave Energy, is another type of ocean-based renewable energy source, which uses the vertical movement of the surface water that produce tidal waves.

"The outcome of my invention exceeded expectations", smiled Dr. Dulan Samaraweera, who tested the innovative device in the sea off Angulana. "We were able to light up an electric bulb with the wave energy generated".

Despite a multitude of duties as the acting Director of the Anuradhapura Teaching Hospital, his passion to innovate pushed the affable medical doctor to realize his dream of developing an environment friendly, wave energy based apparatus.

Installing these units in the ocean within a 10 kilometer will add a significant quantum of electricity to the national grid. This can be done by linking a combination of units to the power station, he noted.

"It’s a low cost machine", Samaraweera pointed out, while explaining that the discarded motor vehicle parts, iron and wood for his invention cost around Rs. 30,000.

The device is not meant for individual use as its core purpose is to contribute electric power to the national grid, he noted. "If harnessed in good measure, wave energy can make a big impact in terms of augmenting the country’s growing demand for power".

Wave energy is one of the most viable options as its totally environment friendly, unlike burning harmful fossil fuels. Tapping solar power is, on the other hand, too costly.

Samaraweera said that he has sought an appointment with President Maithripala Sirisena to seek government assistance towards this project. If these devices can be produced on a bigger scale for installation in the ocean, it will translate into a substantial saving on fossil fuels.

The private sector cannot take up the initiative as the ocean belongs to the government, he said. "I can design the device to be compatible for installation in the sea to generate electricity to the national grid if the project gets the nod".

"There are floating devices which generate wave energy, but this is the first time in Sri Lanka that a unit of this nature has been developed", the medical doctor asserted.

"I have already sought to patent the innovation", he added.

Asked why the unit was tested particularly in the sea off Angulana, he said that unlike the stretch from Colpetty to Mt. Lavinia, there were no rocks which hindered the smooth flow of the waves.

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