We talked to Inna Braverman, Founder and CEO at Eco Wave Power about the only grid connected wave energy array and here is what she said about it.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Eco Wave Power.
Inna Braverman: Wave energy is a personal mission for me as I was born in Ukraine in 1986; just two weeks after I was born the Chernobyl nuclear reactor exploded, causing the largest nuclear disaster in history.
My family lived in a town only 200 miles away from Chernobyl I and was one of the babies that suffered from the harmful effects related to the explosion. I had a respiratory arrest and clinical death.
Luckily, my mother, a nurse, came to my crib and gave me mouth-to-mouth recitation, which saved my life.
I got a second chance in life and wanted to do something good with it. As a result, I decided to devote my life to the development of a clean and safe method of electricity production, via the power of the waves and founded Eco Wave Power (EWP) in 2011 at the age of 24.
How does Eco Wave Power innovate?
Inna Braverman: Eco Wave Power’s innovative, patented technology comprises unique floaters that attach to existing marine structures such as breakwaters, piers, and jetties. The movement of the floaters compresses and decompresses hydraulic pistons that transmit biodegradable fluid into land-based accumulators, in which pressure is built, which rotates a hydraulic motor and a generator, producing clean electricity that is sent to the grid or directly to the user via inverters.
Historically, most wave energy developers focused on capturing the power of offshore waves resulting in expensive and complex projects, therefore struggling to commercialize.
At Eco Wave Power, we keep it smart, simple and cost-efficient!
The unique selling point of the EWP technology is that most wave energy developers chose to install their systems offshore (4-5 km into the sea). As a result, they struggle with the following:
1. High Prices- offshore installation is costly and complicated, as it requires ships, divers, underwater cabling and underwater mooring.
2. Low Reliability- in the offshore, the wave energy power stations are exposed to wave heights of 20 m and higher. Human-made stationary equipment has no way of avoiding and surviving such forces; thus, many of the offshore installations broke down after a short time frame of operation.
3. Lack of Insurance – due to the high prices and low reliability of offshore wave energy technologies, insurance companies refuse to insure offshore wave energy solutions, which has also created another difficulty in obtaining debt financing.
4. Environmental Impact- Environmentalists, who should be the greatest advocates of wave energy, are objecting offshore wave energy, as it is connected to the ocean floor and disturbs the marine environment.
The key advantages of EWP’s technology are:
1. Cost-efficiency – the price of the system is cost-efficient, as most of the system is located on land, just like a regular power station. This enables easy construction, operation, and maintenance.
2. Reliability – most of the EWP equipment is located on land and, therefore, it is not exposed to stormy marine conditions. In addition, EWP has patented storm protection mechanisms.
3. Insurability- The EWP system is fully insurable by notable global insurance companies
- Environmentally Friendly- The EWP system is environmentally friendly as it does not connect to the ocean floor and does not create any new presence on the seabed. The EWP floaters only connect to human-made existing structures such as jetties and breakwaters.
How does the coronavirus pandemic affect your business finances?
Inna Braverman: I have actually written an article about the effect of Covia-19 on Eco Wave power
Please feel free to use the information in the article.
Did you have to make difficult choices regarding human resources, and what are the lessons learned?
Inna Braverman: At the beginning of Covid-19, there was a lot of confusion about the direction that companies should take. However, we feel that Covid-19 actually increased the understanding of the importance of renewable energy and as a result, we have actually expanded our team.
How did your customer relationship management evolve? Do you use any specific tools to be efficient?
Inna Braverman: By working digitally over the past year, we have been able to effectively respond to the continued heightened interest for our technology that we have been witnessing, due to increase in awareness and recognition for the company’s work. Customers are vastly more accepting of digital meetings, allowing us to conduct multiple meetings with people on different continents in a single day. This resulted in a significant increase in the pipeline of our projects, which reinforces the growing global commitment and interest in the Eco Wave Power Technology.
Your final thoughts?
Inna Braverman: I always say that passion is the greatest renewable energy source, and it is, even stronger than the power of the waves! Keep believing!”