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Voyage of the Wave Treader: Wind and wave work as one

What's better than good clean green energy? Two forms of green energy bolted together, that's what. The Wave Treader is a sea-powered system linked to a wind turbine

Bacon is good. Cheese is good. Put them together, you have a sandwich of champions. Also, wave energy is good and wind energy is good. If only there was some way of putting them together, you'd have a green energy double-whammy, right? Green Ocean Energy plans to do just that by hooking up a wave power machine to an offshore wind turbine. It's so simple we wonder why nobody's thought of it before. Maybe they should stick some solar panels on the top and go for the full house.

Joking aside, the benefits from this simple idea seem worthy of praise. Green Ocean Energy claims each Wave Treader machine, which is set to be developed as a prototype by 2010, could generate approximately 500kW: enough to power 125 homes, according to the company. The two methods of harnessing energy, from wave and wind, are captured through one set of cabling, saving on setup and maintenance costs for two separate offshore installations.

The project has benefited from £60,000 of funding from npower's Juice fund, which sinks £10 into new green schemes for every customer signing up.

So how does it work? We're glad you asked. It's based on a wave power system called Ocean Treader, and it's rather complicated, but basically it involves sponsons and hydraulic cylinders and accumulators and motors and bits that look they're made out of Lego. As the Web site explains, the waves move the arms, the arms move the cylinders, the cylinders pressurise hydraulic fluid, and the hydraulic fluid spins the motors that fire up the generators. For extra geek points, the Wave Treader is able to turn with the waves, so in theory should never have to take a day off. Just like Crave! Right, time to wave goodbye (hey c'mon, we earned that one).