Wave energy research in India started in 1984. Six years of research by the Indian wave energy group culminated in the installation of a 150 kW capacity pilot wave power plant in Vizhinjam, off Trivandrum in the Kerala state, in the Arabian Sea during 1990 (Figure 1). The problems encountered during the research, construction and installation directed the group to continue the research effort. The structural configuration of the caisson has changed considerably so that it has sufficient floating stability during towing, enough space for sand ballasting to increase the stability of the caisson against horizontal sliding and overturning and sufficient space at the rear of the caisson for berthing vessels (Figures 2 and 3). After the installation of a wave power caisson of 150 kW off Trivandrum, further attention was focused on a 1 to 2 MW wave power plant for sites, where new breakwaters for harbors is envisaged (Thangassery Harbour in the West Coast of India (Figure 4) and Mus Bay in Car Nicobar Islands (Figure 5) in Bay of Bengal). Optimum center to center spacing between the caissons was determined based on physical model studies. Further research was carried out to improve the wave to pneumatic efficiency by changing the harbor configuration. Techniques to reduce the wave force on the caisson were also simultaneously studied. The wave power economics is site specific. Two sites (Thangassery in Kerala and Mus bay in Car Nicobar Island) were selected to analyze the wave power economics. Wave power is not likely to become economical in the near future. A continued research effort in the research is very important in order to improve the efficiency of wave power conversion and reduce the cost of construction. A decade of experience (1986 to 1996) in wave power research is presented in this paper.
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