The wave begins to finally break
Yurts at Poncha Pass - Colorado Yurt Rentals and Sustainable Building Workshops - Photo of Chris in ground of Earthship

Written by Chris

September 7, 2014

IPeddle powern November of 2009, I attended a climate exchange in Denmark, that took place a week before the Copenhagen climate conference (Cop 15). I remember the excitement I had walking around the frosty city, a buzz in the air. Ice sculptures decorated the plazas, a giant Christmas tree stood in the central square with bikes lining the perimeter. If you wanted to see the lights twinkle, all one had to do was peddle a bit so that others could enjoy.  I stayed with a Danish family and was humbled by their willingness to take in a stranger and for that week, I was part of a small family. Copenhagen 2009 Climate Exchange


The exchange itself was at a giant conference center, with booths scattered throughout. Each booth held the promise of some idea to help revolutionize the world towards a more efficient, sustainable world. The excitement on the faces that week could not be misunderstood as I wrote about it back in ’09. They held the hope of change for the betterment of our world. It made a very large impression on me and since then, I’ve been dedicated in my own life to make these changes wherever I saw the opportunity. From composting to gardening, daily discussions to directing most of masters towards working on efficiency research. I will not be able to thank Phil Kithil and Atmocean enough for inviting me to come along for that week and the direction that began back in 2009.

Ice bear from an iceburg Atmocean has come a long way since then and I am excited to see how it has evolved. The changes have been so positive, we find ourselves on the verge of implementing one of the very first functional wave energy projects. From lowering the strength of hurricanes, to sequestering carbon, and now to generating electricity, the last 8 years have seen their twist and turns.

Our method for harnessing wave energy and converting it into electricity is unique throughout the world. It operates two miles at sea as a series of buoys with pumps located below each of them, and platforms below the pumps. As waves lift the buoy, the platform resists the upward movement causing the piston in the middle to pump sea water with the passing of each wave. An array consists of 15 pumps that are hooked together and collectively pump sea water to shore where it goes through a classic pelton water wheel to make clean, renewable electricity!

Because of Atmocean’s simple design, we gain numerous advantages compared to other wave energy efforts. Our system is cheap to build and therefore competitive against oil and gas, with the ability to work without government subsidies. Since we pump sea water through pipes to shore, this project does not present the same dangers to the environment as oil, gas, or nuclear. With pressurized seawater, we also have the opportunity to desalinate water, an increasingly important challenge facing coastal communities. Lastly, plastic in our oceans is becoming a monumental challenge. As we release the water back to sea, we have the opportunity to filter micro plastics out, promoting the health of our marine environment.

Subsequently, I find myself putting all my energy behind this project and I see the energy growing. We’re going to try and crowd fund it starting next Sunday with Indiegogo. To put it in the hands of the public, we hope they… you… give us your vote of confidence so that we may realize this project for the betterment of our world and that world of future generations. Buzzing in Santa Fe…and to be continued…

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