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Outside the Circle News

The Power of Waves

Ocean Power Technologies in New Jersey has developed a device to generate power from the bobbing and swelling of waves. The project began 15 years ago when a test-buoy generator was developed. Unfortunately, the project quickly ended when the test device immediately sank to the bottom of the ocean once placed in the water.

Today, the new and improved energy device is the first commercially licensed grid-connected wave energy device in the nation. The device will have its initial launch in October, where the 260-ton device will be carried on a barge to a location two-and-a-half miles off the shore of Reedsport, Ore.

Ocean Power Technologies recently received a federal permit to help finance up to ten generators, capable of powering 1000 homes.

Each buoy has an onboard computer that communicates with wave riders, small devices that are placed farther out in the ocean. The computer then can adapt to each new wave that comes, changing the way the internal shaft of the buoy moves up and down. The up-and-down motion is what creates the electricity that is passed through a seabed cable to shore.

Many institutions have funded the project, but it received a large sum of money from the Oregon Wave Energy Trust. This organization is a nonprofit, state-financed group that has spent over $10 million on wave energy research in the past six years.

According to the New York Times, executive director of OWET Jason Busch said, “All eyes are on the Ocean Power Technology buoy. It has to survive.”

The buoy’s success or failure could mean full funding for other similar projects or the death of such programs.

“Wave energy is very expensive to develop, and they need to see that there is potential worldwide,” commented Antonio Sarmento, the director of the Wave Energy Centre, a nonprofit group based in Portugal.

Energy experts and state officials are also working on a long-term coastal mapping and planning project that will hopefully produce a map displaying where wave energy should or should not be utilized in the next year. Paul Klarin, the leader of the project, hopes to find a way to obtain wave energy that is efficient and cost-effective.

Klarin, who is also the marine program coordinator at the Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development, stated that there are “…many different sizes, many different forms, many different footprints [of waves]. There’s no one-size-fits-all kind of plan.”


File Sharer Convicted

Gottfrid Svartholm Warg, co-founder of the popular file-sharing website The Pirate Bay, was arrested in Cambodia at Sweden’s request on Aug. 30.

Svartholm Warg is facing a year-long prison sentence for violating copyright laws. He is also going to be expelled from Sweden in the upcoming months, though he must be released from Cambodia first.

Svartholm Warg was convicted in a Swedish court in 2009, along with the other three founders of the site, of assisting copyright infringers in illegally downloading music, movies, and computer games.

All four were sentenced to a year in prison, along with a $3.6 million payment to entertainment companies such as Warner Brothers, Sony Music Entertainment, EMI, and Columbia Pictures. Svartholm Warg, however, did not appear at his appeal hearing in 2010, claiming to have fallen ill in Cambodia.

According to the New York Times, Kirth Chantharith, a spokesman for the national police in Cambodia, said that a group of Swedish officials will arrive in the next week to “present documents concerning the case and discuss procedures for returning Svartholm Warg.”

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