Page last updated at 14:25 GMT, Wednesday, 8 April 2009 15:25 UK

Middle East hope for wave energy

See how Searaser works

A Devon inventor is hoping to make a commercial version of his wave energy machine in the Middle East.

Alvin Smith, 62, from Dartmouth, said he has had some "serious interest" from a number of Gulf countries.

The Searaser machine works by using wave energy to pump water up to container tanks and the water is then released to a hydro-electric turbine.

He says the advantage of his system over many other wave energy machines is that there is a controllable supply.

Former garage mechanic Mr Smith came up with the idea after developing a number of wave energy systems.

The Searaser system is tested off south Devon

He has now patented the Searaser which he believes, with 11,000 machines, could provide enough power for UK domestic needs.

The system has been tested off south Devon with the financial support of three local businessmen.

He is now negotiating a contract to construct the first Searaser system in the Middle East, although talks are an early stage and he will not reveal the names of the interested countries.

He told BBC News: "If you think of the power in waves to lift a 500-tonne ship and harness that to pump water, you have an amazingly powerful resource.

"When you combine that with hydro-electric power, creating a constant, controllable power, you have something that could answer the world's and not just the UK's energy problems."

A question remains on getting planning permission to site many containers or water towers to feed the turbines, but Mr Smith says the potential of the system outweighs planning concerns.

He said: "The potential is enormous. We have plenty of waves around the west coast of the UK and plenty of seawater. There is an abundance of energy there which we have got to use."


Alvin Smith says there is an "abundance of energy" that needs to be harnessed

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