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  1.  (8697.1)
    Why wasn't the Salter's Duck (cited in the Third Volume) that made energy from the waves implemented and developed? It would have created clean enery from the sea, a lot safer than those nasty oil platforms responsible for the Mexico Gulf catastrophe. What a pity government killed it!
    (And why call it a "Duck", anyway?)
    • CommentAuthorKradlum
    • CommentTimeAug 6th 2010
    There are plans for wave farms off Scotland and Cornwall, and I think they were testing systems off the East coast of the UK last year as well. I'm not sure if they use a Salter's Duck though, I think they are using a system developed in Scotland. There were also plans for a tidal device in the Severn Estuary, but there were objections due to the affects on the breeding grounds of wading birds so I don't know what came of that.

    There was talk in the 80's of using Salter's Ducks for energy generation in the UK, but that got shelved when the oil crisis ended, and because they cocked up the calculations of how much energy could be produced.
    • CommentTimeAug 6th 2010
    There's a lot of rescue archaeology going on in the Severn area so maybe it is going ahead... however:

    I think the Salter's Duck may have been called that because it floated on the water and one of its appendages looked like a duck's head dibbling in the water.

    "An analysis of Salter's Duck resulted in a miscalculation of the estimated cost of energy production by a factor of 10,[48] an error which was identified in 2008. Some wave power advocates believe that this error, combined with a general lack of enthusiasm for renewable energy in the 1980s (after oil prices fell), hindered the advancement of wave power technology.[49]" wikipedia
  2.  (8697.4)
    Salter's duck hasn't taken off as a bulk electrical power generation technology as you've noted. While its theoretical and tank absorption efficiencies are high, it has a great deal of practical problems, such as reliable maintenance-free power takeoff. Despite quite a bit of work on gyroscopes, hydraulics and some reworking as a desalination device, simpler wave energy converters have come to the fore. The descendant of the 'duck' in a loose way is the Pelamis device ( ), which was the work of one of his PhD students. Warren Ellis mentions this device, although its not terribly similar to the original duck. Building the hydraulic system reliably from scrap would be "challenging" although for pure heating loads a linear generator could possibly be used (kind of.. depends on scale and incident waves and if they have a tonne of permanent magnets lying around) without any power electronics.

    Other ongoing work in wave power includes oscillating water columns ( ), a giant hinged flap ( ) and buoys ( ). This is'nt an exhaustive list by any means, but there are a lot of 'website & CAD drawings' developers out there. Actual large scale testing of a wave power device is a little Russian roulette with five loaded chambers (exaggeration...) . Typically a company will be finanically extended during construction and deployment and any hitches/holdups/failures or accidents can result in massive setbacks. This can take several years to recover from. The marine environment is a tricky place to work in if you aren't already rolling in money.

    Wave power devices have a dedicated UK test site on Orkney known as EMEC, but an OWC powerplant has existed on Islay since 2000ish.

    The Severn barrage is a difficult kettle of fish. I think non-barrage tidal schemes are ongoing in several parts of UK waters.