Researchers have developed prototype technology that can double the power harvested from ocean waves, in an advance that could finally make wave energy a viable renewable alternative, Tech Xplore reports. The untapped potential of ocean wave energy is vast, but the challenges of developing technologies that can efficiently extract that natural power and withstand the harsh ocean environment have kept wave energy stuck at experimental stage. Now a research team led by RMIT University has created a wave energy converter that is twice as efficient at harvesting power as any similar technologies developed to date. The innovation, published in the journal Applied Energy, relies on a world-first, dual-turbine design. “While wind and solar dominate the renewable market, they are available only 20-30% of the time,” said lead researcher professor Xu Wang. “Wave energy is available 90% of the time on average and the potential power contained in offshore waves is immense. Our prototype technology overcomes some of the key technical challenges that have been holding back the wave energy industry from large-scale deployment. With further development, we hope this technology could be the foundation for a thriving new renewable energy industry delivering massive environmental and economic benefits.” The simple and economical device was developed by RMIT engineering researchers in collaboration with researchers from Beihang University in China. The prototype has been successfully tested at lab scale, and the research team said it is keen to collaborate with industry partners to test a full-scale model, and work toward commercial viability.