Innovation That Matters

New seawall design generates power from the sea


An innovative design by Dutch company Waterstudio could revolutionize how we generate electricity from the sea.

Waterstudio, a Dutch company that focuses on water-based urban planning and research, has developed an innovative floating seawall called Parthenon – named after the Greek temple dedicated to the goddess Athena.

Seawalls are obviously nothing new, but Parthenon is somewhat unique in its design. Rather than being a solid seawall, Parthenon is made up of rows of three-foot columns that slowly rotate in both directions as the water passes through them. There are a couple of important advantages to this. Firstly, it’s more resilient than a solid wall because the columns allow a degree of flexibility without reducing its effectiveness in protecting the harbor. The columns are filled with water and the whole platform is also anchored to the seabed, meaning that the top of it has multiple uses – such as an attractive boulevard, harbor extension or urban green space.

Secondly, Parthenon is able to convert the power of the waves into electrical energy which is then stored in a box built into the platform. If you could imagine Parthenon running along the length of the Thames or Hudson river, then the resulting electricity generated from the wall could be significant as we continue to strive for a greener future.

Iceland is conducting experiments to try to capture volcanic heat for an energy supply, and an Australian company recently revealed a new wave machine that enables energy to be harvested from the sea quicker and easier. It’s both encouraging and inspiring to see so many companies working to develop new environmental technology that can benefit us and also the planet. Is there a trick they’re missing? What original technology would you like to see?



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