SWEL: The Waveline Magnet

By Alex Zakheos 24 May, 2023

Meet The Waveline Magnet, the only wave energy convertor that could rival fossil fuels. We chat to Zakheos, Co-CEO of SWEL, to unravel its potential & why it's not a major player yet

The ocean is energy dense & covers >65% of the globe; Sea Wave Energy Ltd (SWEL) is a R&D company developing the Waveline Magnet to convert wave energy into electricity
A fraction of a wave can power & satisfy a large chunk of global energy demand; WLM can power >100MW in energetic climates & costs competing with fossil fuels & other RE
No market yet as all pilots have failed; But WLM is the 'connector' & key to to harnessing wave power; It also has minimal/no impact on marine & can be used as an artificial reef
Alex Zakheos
Author: Alex Zakheos
Alexander Zakheos is an electrical & electronic engineer currently enrolled in a master’s programme in critical infrastructure systems. One of the leaders of SWEL’s research and development.
Read more from Alex Zakheos →

Sea wave energy limited (SWEL) is a R&D company based in Cyprus & the UK that has been focused on the design and development of its wave energy converter (WEC) – The “Wave Line Magnet”, a wave energy converter that has been evolved for more than 10 years achieving numerous patents. The company’s technology is a robust and durable WEC that can supply substantial power on demand at a low cost, with minimal maintenance and can be deployed in any wave environment.

CWR: Thanks for chatting with us, Alex. We’re excited to find out more about Sea Wave Energy Ltd (SWEL). Can you give us a short intro on what SWEL does and share with us your vision and why you started it?

Alex Zakheos (AZ): Thank you for having me, it’s a pleasure. Sea Wave Energy Ltd is a research and development company focused on its novel technology the Waveline Magnet. The only wave energy converter in the industry indicating power capabilities, storage and costs comparable to fossil fuels.

Currently challenging the status quo with the revolutionary Neutral Displacement Theory. I did not personally start effort, my father did over 20 years ago, when I was just a baby. Since then, we have evolved the concept into what you see today, on the edge of pioneering commercialization within the dormant industry of wave energy that arose over 4 decades ago.

SWEL is a R&D company developing the Waveline Magnet…

…the only wave energy convertor with power, storage & costs comparable to fossil fuels

CWR: We’ve been seeing the ‘Wave Line Magnet’ on social media. How does it work and why did you choose to focus on wave energy as opposed to other renewable energy sources?

AZ: The system is a very simple concept, with 4 basic components; spine, platforms, levers and pumps. With the flow of waves through the system platforms move relative to the spine and transfer this movement through a lever which acts on a pump system. Taking in sea water and pressurizing it. With this, you can supply essentially any conversion process (desalination, electricity or hydrogen).

The oceans & seas are energy dense…

…the system has 4 components – spine, platforms, levers & pumps

The oceans and seas are energy dense and are in abundance with over 65% of the globe covered and an ideal place to generate and store mass amounts of energy – as these are the main logistics highways of the planet. With the right technology and storage capabilities (all inherent for the WLM), just a fraction of what is available in the wave has enough power to satisfy a significant chunk global demand.

CWR: How much power is currently generated by the deployed Wave Line Magnets? There seems to be huge potential here – what is stopping wave energy generation from being a major power source?

AZ: At this point in time there are no systems in the water. We have completed exhaustive studies in the last 15 or so years. Both in controlled environments (wave tanks) with official 3rd party reports/data. Our most recent test in ECN (France) indicating a record breaking 1.5kW output in a wave tank setting with just a scale model (3x30m). Also, open sea trails, at various scales of the technology and power outputs.

No systems in the water yet, but SWEL is ready to put wave energy on the frontline of global power

Our testing has indicated a major flaw in existing standards/protocols for wave theory, suggesting this is the reason for the industries constant downfall, this is why wave power in not yet a major contributor. SWEL has the answer and is ready to put wave energy on the frontline of global power generation, beyond the capabilities of fossil fuels even. Once, strategic alliances are established to support and facilitate these final phases.

CWR: How does SWEL differ from other wave energy technologies in the market?

AZ: There is no market for wave energy. There are various developers working to find a design that “works” and pilot projects in a few locations on the globe.

 There is no market for wave energy but SWEL can generate >100MW in energetic climates

All of which following fatal errors within existing theory and standards, which although may show promising results in wave tanks, suffer complete failures in the real climate in regards to performance.

SWEL challenges these standards and has the data to prove it. Indicating power capabilities over 100MW outputs in energetic climates and costs competing with fossil fuels let alone wind or solar power, based on our projections.

CWR: What are some of the challenges you faced when developing the Wave Line Magnet? Are you confident that SWEL’s tech will be able to withstand accelerating natural hazards?

AZ: The sea is considered a “harsh” environment because it is one of the great unknowns. Electricity and sea waves can be very similar in some ways. For example, is a wire carrying 100 megawatts of power (a monstruous amount) dangerous to use? There are two answers; yes, if you use the wrong connector to capture that power. If the power is understood and the correctly rated connector is used to harness that power it is completely safe.

Despite “harsh” environment, electricity & sea waves are similar…

…the WLM design is connected to the wave line & has full command over the forces it encounters with minimal maintenance

The WLM is the connector and key to harnessing wave power. The idea of the ocean being a harsh environment is non-existent using this approach just simply more energy availability versus less. The industry’s common approach of having to deactivate other WEC technologies or having to shed power during storms is a ridiculous contradiction to the goal of wave power. Having more power available and not being able to use it. ALL objects in the sea that displace water (ships, other WEC’s) are at the mercy of the environment where they have no control over forces, they encounter thus they face problems during storms.

The WLM is the only technology designed to be connected with the Waveline (energy) and can never leave that point in space, for this reason it has full command over the forces it encounters, it cannot sink. In a few words, with the correct materials, anchoring and design for the power availabilities of a given wave profile the system can stay there forever with minimal maintenance.

CWR: As you deploy more Wave Line Magnets and scale up, are there any problems that come with covering more ocean surface? (E.g noise interference and magnetism disorientating marine species?)

AZ: Contrary to popular misconceptions – the WLM doesn’t use any magnets. So, there is no kind of magnetic interference. The system will be designed using materials that have minimal to no impact (release) in the ecosystem.

No magnetic interference & impact on the ecosystem…

…rather it’s harmonious interaction & can be used as an artificial reef for marine life

The system has been and will be inspected from all angles by multiple specialists regarding its impact before any commercial application. The system due to its harmonious and secure interaction with the climate may even be used strategically as an artificial reef and place for marine life, this has been witnessed. Even beyond its applications in energy the technology has the ability to be applied in many industries. For example, sustainable farming, floating solar, fish farming etc. In small scale applications systems will be visible from coasts but that is a small price to pay for carbon neutral power. We think it’s quite nice to look at actually.

CWR: To wrap, what are your next steps going forward?

AZ: SWEL is in the process of reviewing and establishing strategic collaborations to facilitate the final pre-commercial development phase. Once established within 6-12 months the first phase will be completed and SWEL will move into the first small scale implementation of the WLM that will become commercially available.

Further readings

  • Raindrops To Energy: The Droplet-Based Electricity Generator – Water contains huge amounts of energy yet harvesting it is not efficient. We sat down with Prof. Zuankai Wang from the City University of HK to learn more about how this groundbreaking tech powers 100 LED bulbs with one drop of rain
  • Narwhale Ventures: Decarbonization of the Ocean Economy – Excited by the crucial role ocean startups play in decarbonizing the blue economy, Schulze co-founded the Narwhale Ventures fund. We sit down to hear more about it and what she’s got in the pipeline
  • Net Zero & Water Security: 3 Bottlenecks In Future Tech – The momentum of global net zero is building yet CWR’s Debra Tan & Ronald Leung see 3 key bottlenecks that could prevent us from achieving both net zero & water security
  • Archireef: 3D-printed Clay Reef Tiles – Home to more hard coral species than the Caribbean, Hong Kong reefs need protecting. We sit down with CEO & Co-founder of Archireef, Vriko Yu, to hear how their 3D printed clay tiles save reefs with a 95% survivorship rate

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