Ansys Inc. has announced that its software is helping transform the relentless forces of waves into electricity. Green Ocean Energy Ltd, a UK-based renewable energy company, is using technology from Ansys to develop devices that will reliably generate renewable power from the motion of the seas.

The project’s complex development process includes rigorous technical requirements, severe environmental conditions and strict product delivery deadlines. Green Ocean Energy is developing two devices that will harness the waters of the north Atlantic: the Ocean Treader and Wave Treader.

They are designed to bob on the surface of the ocean while waves cause attached floating arms to move up and down to power on-board generators. Electricity is sent back to shore via underwater cables. Each machine is designed to produce 500KW of electricity - enough to power 125 homes - so a farm of 30 such devices would have a rating of 15MW.

Hydrodynamic and structural analysis tools from Ansys are being applied to address one of the primary challenges: reaching a balance between structural strength and weight restrictions. With an expected 25-year design life, the machines must withstand rough waters and gale-force winds; conversely, structural members must be lightweight to keep production costs within budget and to allow for sufficient floatation.