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Title:
ELECTRICAL GENERATING NETWORK OF FLOATING BUOYS
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2018/057832
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A system for converting water turbulence into electricity. The system comprises a plurality of buoys; each buoy being connected to at least one adjacent buoy by at least two generators; each of the buoys being connected to at least one adjacent one of the buoys by at least two generators, each of the generators having an adjustable length and adapted to generate electricity in response to a change in length; each of the at least two generators being connected to each of the buoys at either (a) different heights of the buoy, or (b) different angles to the buoy; wherein when deployed in water movement of one of the buoys induces changes in length of at least some of the generators connected to the one of the buoys.

Inventors:
PITRE, John (726 Kahiou Loop, Honolulu, HI, 96821, US)
Application Number:
US2017/052861
Publication Date:
March 29, 2018
Filing Date:
September 22, 2017
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
NATURAL POWER CONCEPTS, INC. (726 Kahiou Loop, Honolulu, HI, 96821, US)
International Classes:
F03B13/14; F03B13/16; F03B13/20
Foreign References:
US20080267712A12008-10-30
US6476511B12002-11-05
US20140306455A12014-10-16
US20110068578A12011-03-24
EP2466118A12012-06-20
US20100225116A12010-09-09
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
WATKINS, Scott (Polsinelli PC, 1401 I Street NW, Suite 80, Washington DC, 20005, US)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

What is claimed is:

1. A system for converting water turbulence into electricity, comprising:

a first buoy having a first water line region, and a second buoy having a second water line region;

first, second, third and fourth electric generators adapted to change length and generate electricity in response to change in length, each of the generators being connected at one end to the first buoy and at a second end to the second buoy;

the ends of the first linear electric generator being connected above the buoy water line regions of the first buoy and the second buoy;

the ends of the second linear electric generator being connected below the buoy water line regions of the first buoy and the second buoy;

the ends of the third linear electric generator being connected above the first water line region of the first buoy and below the second water line region of the second buoy; and the ends of the fourth linear electric generator being connected below the first water line region of the first buoy and above the second water line region of the second buoy; wherein when deployed in water a change in position of the first buoy relative to the second buoy induces a change in length and electricity length of least one of the first, second, third and fourth electric generators.

2. The system of claim 1, wherein each of the first, second, third and fourth linear electric generators are spring loaded with a rest length from which length can be increased or decreased. 3. The system of claim 2, wherein in response to an increase or decrease in length of one of the generators away from the rest length, spring restoration force biases the one of the generators back to the rest length.

4. The system of claim 3, wherein the spring restoration force will induce an oscillation of length in the one of the generators about the rest length.

5. The system of claim 1, wherein movement of the first buoy relative to the second buoy induces an oscillation of expansion and contraction in length of the at least one of the first, second, third and fourth electric generators.

6. The system of claim 1, wherein movement of the first buoy directly induces movement in the second buoy.

7. A system for converting water turbulence into electricity, comprising:

a plurality of buoys;

each of the buoys being connected to at least one adjacent one of the buoys by at least two generators, each of the generators having an adjustable length and adapted to generate electricity in response to a change in length;

each of the at least two generators being connected to each of the buoys at either (a) different heights of the buoy, or (b) different angles to the buoy; wherein when deployed in water movement of one of the buoys induces changes in length of at least some of the generators connected to the one of the buoys.

8. The system of claim 1, wherein movement of the one of the buoys directly induces movement in an adjacent one of the buoys that is connected by the at least two generators.

9. The system of claim 1, wherein movement of the one of the buoys indirectly induces movement of another one of the buoys through at least one intervening one of the buoys.

10. The system of claim 1, wherein the generators are adapted to oscillate in length in response to an initial movement of a connected one of the buoys.

11. The system of claim 1, wherein when the plurality of buoys are deployed in turbulent water, each of the plurality of buoys continuously bobbles to change length of at least some of the generators.

12. A buoy for converting water turbulence into electricity, comprising:

an upper section and a lower section;

the upper section being open to the environment and including a plurality of flanges; a plurality of buoy connectors, including a plurality of upper connectors extending from the upper section and a plurality of lower connectors extending from the lower section; wherein the buoy is adapted to be connected at one of the buoy connectors to another buoy by an adjustable length generator adapted to generate electricity in response to a change in length.

13. The buoy of claim 12, wherein the connectors comprise rods supporting balls, the balls being a portion of a ball joint.

14. The buoy of claim 12, wherein the plurality of upper connectors are present in the same number, and are aligned with, the plurality of lower connectors.

15. The buoy of claim 12, wherein the upper section comprises an upper plate, and the plurality of upper connectors extend upward from the upper plate.

16. The buoy of claim 12, wherein the lower section comprises a lower plate, and the plurality of lower connectors extend downward from the lower plate.

Description:
ELECTRICAL GENERATING NETWORK OF FLOATING BUOYS

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

[0001] The instant application claims priority to U.S. Provisional Patent Application

62/398017 filed September 22, 2016 entitled ELECTRICAL GENERATING NETWORK OF FLOATING BUOYS, the contents of which are expressly incorporated by reference herein in its entirety. FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0002] The invention relates generally to the field of harnessing energy from waves such as tidal waves and similar wave movements. More specifically, the claimed subject matter relates to devices and systems for producing electrical energy using the action of tidal waves. BACKGROUND

[0003] Wave energy (i.e. the energy of periodically oscillating waves on an ocean, sea, lake or other large body of water) can be converted to electrical energy by using the waves' buoyant force to cause a floating body to oscillate (i.e., bob up and down with the waves). Referring now to Fig. 31, a prior art buoy system 3100 methodology involves a floating buoy and some type of sea anchor, with an intervening cable and electrical generator. The kinetic energy produced as the floating body oscillates relative to the stationary opposing body is converted to electrical energy by a generator coupled between the two bodies. An example of this is shown at U.S. Patent Publication 2011/0089696.

[0004] The above system has several drawbacks. One drawback is that it is designed to capture energy from vertical movement of the buoy (up and down with the waves), while failing to meaningfully harvest other buoy movements. Another drawback is overall size and deployment, as each buoy system runs the full length of its buoy to its anchor, and in shallow water must individually be anchored to the sea floor. Another drawback is that large generators are needed to capture energy from only vertical movement, which introduces costs and weight considerations that eliminate the viability of certain components; by way of example it was reported in https://scitechdailv.coin/lloating-power-buov-creates-electr icity- from-ocean- w a ves/ that the size of the generator prevented use of springs in the design.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0005] Various embodiments in accordance with the present disclosure will be described with reference to the drawings, in which:

[0006] Fig. 1 is a side view of a network of buoys connected by energy generators according to an embodiment of the invention.

[0007] Figs. 2 and 3 are side views of the buoy of Fig. 1.

[0008] Figs. 4 and 5 are top and bottom views of the buoy of Fig. 1.

[0009] Figs. 6 and 7 are side views of a linear generator of Fig. 1.

[0010] Fig. 8 is another side view of the network of Fig. 1.

[0011] Figs. 9 and 10 are top and bottom views of the layout of the top and bottom generators relative to the buoys in the embodiment of Fig. 8.

[0012] Figs. 11 and 12 are top and bottom views of the layout of diagonal generators relative to the buoys in the embodiment of Fig. 8.

[0013] Fig. 13 is a top view of the embodiment of Fig. 7.

[0014] Fig. 14 is a side view of a network of buoys connected by energy generators according to an embodiment of the invention in which the network is in a rest state. [0015] Figs. 15-24 are side views of non-limiting examples of different movement of buoys relative to each other in the embodiment of Fig. 14.

[0016] Figs. 25-27 are perspective views of a network of buoys connected by energy generators according to an embodiment of the invention in which the network is in active motion via deployment in ocean waves.

[0017] Fig. 28 is top view of the embodiment of Figs. 25-27.

[0018] Fig. 29 is a perspective view of a buoy connected by energy generators according to another embodiment of the invention.

[0019] Fig. 30 is a perspective view of a network of buoys connected by energy generators according to another embodiment of the invention.

[0020] Fig. 31 is a schematic view of a prior art buoy based energy collection system.

[0021] Fig. 32 is a side view of fixed support and a network of buoys connected by energy generators according to an embodiment of the invention.

[0022] Fig. 33 is a side views of a buoy according to another embodiment of the invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0023] In the following description, various embodiments will be illustrated by way of example and not by way of limitation in the figures of the accompanying drawings.

References to various embodiments in this disclosure are not necessarily to the same embodiment, and such references mean at least one. While specific implementations and other details are discussed, it is to be understood that this is done for illustrative purposes only. An individual skilled in the relevant art will recognize that other components and configurations may be used without departing from the scope and spirit of the claimed subject matter.

[0024] Several definitions that apply throughout this disclosure will now be presented. The term "substantially" is defined to be essentially conforming to the particular dimension, shape, or other feature that the term modifies, such that the component need not be exact. For example, "substantially cylindrical" means that the object resembles a cylinder, but can have one or more deviations from a true cylinder. The term "comprising" when utilized, means "including, but not necessarily limited to"; it specifically indicates open-ended inclusion or membership in the so-described combination, group, series and the like. The term "a" means "one or more" absent express indication that it is limited to the singular. "First," "second," etc. are labels to differentiate like terms from each other, and does not imply any order, ranking or numerical limitation. "Connected" means directly or indirectly coupled unless specified as a direct or indirect connection.

[0025] As used herein, the term "front", "rear", "left," "right," "top," "bottom," "upper" and "lower" or other terms of direction, orientation, and/or relative position are used for explanation and convenience to refer to certain features of this disclosure. However, these terms are not absolute, and should not be construed as limiting this disclosure. For example, an "upper plate" or "top plate" is located at a higher point than a "lower plate" or "bottom plate" but neither need be at the utmost top or utmost bottom of a supporting structure.

[0026] The term "buoy" means a structure that when placed in water will float with a portion submerged beneath the waterline and a portion extending above the waterline. The term "buoy water line region" refers to the area around the buoy defined by where the waterline meets the buoy under ideal still conditions, such that a portion of the buoy above the buoy water line region is exposed to air above the water, and a portion of the buoy below the water line region is submerged in the water. It is to be understood that as with any floating object some motion is expected such that the alignment of the buoy with the water line will not be perfect, and the use "region" reflects a degree of shift attributable to such movement.

[0027] The "position" of a buoy refers to its location and orientation. A change of position occurs when the buoy changes location and/or orientation.

[0028] The term "spring loaded" in the context of a linear electrical generator with adjustable length means that the generator has some structure which biases the generator to an equilibrium/rest position. Mechanical or gas springs are non- limiting examples of such a structure.

[0029] The term "equilibrium" as in "equilibrium state," "equilibrium position," "equilibrium length" or the like refers to a state of components in which no forces are applied to the components. By way of example, a coil spring in its natural state with no force applied is in equilibrium state and will have an equilibrium length.

[0030] The term "rest" as in "rest state," "rest position," "rest length" or the like refers to an equilibrium state of components in which any applied forces are balanced such that components are not moving relative to each other. By way of example, a coil spring in its natural state with no force applied is in equilibrium state and will have a rest length; in this case the equilibrium state is the same as the rest state. In another example, a coil spring may be in an expanded state supporting a hanging weight, and have a rest length at which the state of expansion is balanced by the hanging weight; in this case the rest length could be different from the equilibrium length.

[0031] Shapes as described herein are not considered absolute. As is known in the art, surfaces often have waves, protrusions, holes, recess, etc., to provide rigidity, strength and functionality. All recitations of shape herein are to be considered modified by "substantially" regardless of whether expressly stated in the disclosure or claims, and specifically account for variations in the art as noted above.

[0032] Embodiments of the invention are drawn to a network of floating buoys connected by electrical generators with adjustable length and which generate electricity in response to changes in length. The network may include any number of buoys, with adjacent buoys being connected by one or more generators. Movement of buoys relative to each in position and/orientation changes in length in the generators to thereby generate electricity. Movement of buoys is responsive to being moved by receiving new wave energy, oscillations caused by prior wave energy, and/or direct or indirect reaction to other buoys in the network.

Essentially when deployed in ocean conditions the buoys will begin to bob about randomly, and the generators capture the energy from the bobbing.

[0033] Referring now to Fig. 1, an energy generating network 100 is shown. The network includes a plurality of buoys 102, for which two adjacent buoys 102 are shown in

Fig. 1. Adjacent buoys are interconnected by energy generators 104, of which four are shown in Fig. 1.

[0034] Referring now to Figs. 2-5, an individual buoy 102 is shown in more detail. The buoy 102 includes a lower support plate 204, a buoyant lower section 206 on top of the lower support plate 204, an upper section 208 above the buoyant lower section 206, and an upper support plate 210. Connectors 212 extend from the upper and lower plates 204 and 210.

[0035] The lower section 206 is preferably sealed/closed with an internal air chamber 314 to balance the buoy in the water with appropriate buoyancy to urge the buoy 102 into a neutral positon in which the buoy floats upright in the absence of water turbulence. The lower section 206 preferably has a frusto-conical shape or substantially diamond shape, but the invention is not limited thereto, and other shapes (e.g., triangular, pyramid, cylinder, partially spherical, rectangular) or collection of linked shapes could be used. In buoy 102 lower section 206 is larger than upper section 208, although this need not be the case and they may be of the same size or the lower section 206 may be smaller.

[0036] The upper section 206 has a central rod 316 that connects the lower section 206 to the upper plate 210. Upper section 206 also includes several support flanges 318 extending between the lower 206 section and a central support rod 316; six flanges are shown, although the invention is not so limited and any number of flanges may be used. The flanges 318 and rod 316 define gaps 320 which are shown as substantially triangular shaped, although the invention is not so limited. This configuration provides structural rigidity to the upper plate 210, while the flanges act as paddles that absorbs some wave energy from tidal forces (including possibly wind energy as may be present over the water) to change the position and/or orientation of buoy 102. The outer periphery of the flanges generally define a frusto- conical shape, but the invention is not limited thereto (e.g., triangular, partially spherical, rectangular). Upper section 208 may also be partially open or entirely closed.

[0037] Connectors 212 extend from both the top and bottom plates 210 and 204.

Connectors 212 may be the studs of ball joints to mate with the sockets of the connectors of the generators 104 as discussed below, although the invention is not so limited and other connectors may be used. Twelve connectors 212 are shown on each plate 204 and 210 to define six pairs, although any number may be used. The connectors are preferably positioned equidistant from each other and adjacent the outer periphery of the plates 204 and 210 so that they can connect with the generators 104.

[0038] Figs. 6 and 7 show views of an energy generator 104. Generator 104 includes two moveable rods 602 and 604 that are telescopically engaged and move linearly relative to each other coaxially, although the invention is not limited. Longer generators 104 can be formed by three or more rods, and the rods need not be telescoping.

[0039] The generator 104 includes electricity generating components that generate electricity as the rods 602 and 604 move relative to each other as is known in the art, and for which a wire 606 is shown leading out of the generator to convey electricity to a remote location. By way of non-limiting example, rod 602 may be a wound coil 608 around a hollow tube core, and the interior end of rod 604 is a series of stacked cylindrical magnets 610 that move within the hollow tube core; the relative motion generates electricity. By way of another non- limiting example, linear movement of the rods could drive a rotary sprain gauge. Other methodologies for generating energy via relative linear movement could also be used. By way of another non- limiting example, the rods could be components of hydraulic water or oil pumping cylinders, or air pistons.

[0040] The invention is not limited to the type of generator or the manner in which it produces electricity in response to changes in length. The range of relative motion of the rods 602 and 604 may lie between a maximum compressed position in which the rods 602 and 604 are as retracted as the structure allows, and a maximum expandable position in which the rods 602 and 604 are as withdrawn the structure allows, although the invention is not so limited.

[0041] Both ends of the generators 104 have connectors 612 for connection to connectors 212 of buoys 102 as discussed below. The connectors 612 are preferably sockets of ball joints, but the invention is not so limited any appropriate connector may be used. Flexible connections could also be used.

[0042] The rods 602 and 604 of the generators 104 may be spring loaded. The structure in connector 104 that provides the spring load is a mechanical spring 614 and further discussion herein will be based on that embodiment, although it is to be understood that the invention is not so limited and other forms of spring loading may be used, such as by way of non- limiting example a gas spring.

[0043] When unbiased, spring 614 may establish a rest position of the rods 602 and 604 and a corresponding rest length of generator 104. The rest position may be between the maximum compressed position and the maximum expandable position such that the length of generator 104 can expand and contract relative to the rest length, although the invention is not so limited and the rest position may be one of the end positions. As the rods 602 and 604 move relative to each other in one direction to change the length of the generator 104, electricity is generated by the internal electrical generating components.

[0044] As discussed in more detail below, generators 104 change length in response to movement of a buoy 102 from wave energy. When a buoy 102 at its rest length moves from wave energy to change the length of generator 104, the bias from spring 614 urges reverse motion toward the rest position. When the wave energy passes, spring 614 will thus move rods 602 and 604 relative to each other, generating still further electricity via the

reciprocating motion. Since generator 104 generates electricity in response to a change in length, electricity is produced during both the initial change in length and the subsequent return to the rest position.

[0045] To define a network of buoys, the individual buoys 102 may be connected to adjacent buoys 102 by the generators 104. Each buoy 102 is connected by at least one generator 104, although four generators 104 may be used to energy for the allowed volume of connections.

[0046] Figs. 8-13 show two buoys 102 connected by four generators 104, in which all connections are via the connectors 612 at the ends of the generators 104 that mate with the connectors 212 extending from the plates 204 and 210. One upper generator 802 connects between connectors 212 of upper plates 210 of the two buoys 102. A lower generator 804 connects between connectors 212 of the lower plates 204 of the two buoys 102. The remaining two generators 806 and 804 connect diagonally to form an X pattern in the side view (on a clock, 10-4 and 8-2 direction for reference, although the invention is not so limited), each connecting at one end to a connector 212 of a lower plate 204 and at the other end to an upper plate 210.

[0047] Upper and lower generators 802 and 808 cover a shorter distance than 10-4 and 8- 2 generators 804 and 806. Upper and lower generators 802 and 808 may thus be shorter than 10-4 and 8-2 generators 804 and 806. In the alternative upper and lower generators 802 and 808 could be compressed during installation, or 10-4 and 8-2 generators 804 and 806 could be expanded (in such case the "rest length" may be different than the equilibrium length of the springs, as the system may assume stable balanced length while some of the springs were under tension). The four generators 104 may thus be the same, or some or all may have different lengths, range of adjustable length, rest length, etc.

[0048] The connectors 612 of the generators 104 are connected to specific connectors 212 of the buoys 102 so the generators 104 do not physically interfere with each other.

Preferably the four generators 104 between each buoy pair 102 utilize common pairs of connectors 212 on the upper and lower plates 210 and 204. A non-limiting example of such a connection is that the upper and lower generators 802 and 804 crisscross to form an X as seen in the top and bottom views (Figs. 9 and 10) while diagonal generators 806 and 808 connect to adjacent pairs of connectors, such that they do not cross as seen in a top/bottom views (Figs. 10 and 11). Dashed lines show portions of the generators 104 that are not visible due to the intervening portion of the buoy 102.

[0049] In this configuration, each generator 104 is connected to each of the buoys 102 at either (a) different height of the buoy 102, and/or (b) different angles to the buoy 102. For example, upper generator 802 and lower generator 804 are connected at different heights (one near the top and the other near the bottom) and at the same angle. In another example, upper generator 802 and 10-4 generator 806 both connect to the same height of the left buoy 102 (both at the top), but are at an angle to each other.

[0050] Referring now to Figs. 14-24, the number of buoys 102 shown in network 1400 is expanded to three buoys including a left buoy 1402L, center buoy 1402C, and right buoy 1402R, with corresponding additional generators sets 1404 A and 1404B (each set including at least one generator 104, of which four generators 104 are shown). The left and right buoys 1402L/R in Figs. 14-24 are shown as fixed to illustrate changes in special relationship relative to center buoy 1402C, but as discussed further below this is not expected to be the case as movement in any one buoy 1402 will cascade to other movable buoys 1402 to induce movement throughout the network.

[0051] Fig. 14 shows the buoys 1402L/C/R in a rest state, in which the oval in the center shows the rest position 1406 of the center buoy 1204C. Relative to Fig. 14, Figs. 15-24 show non- limiting examples of how the location of the center buoy 1402C can move relative to the other buoys 1402L/R.

[0052] Figs. 14-16 when viewed in sequence show a non-limiting example of potential movements of a center buoy 1402C that generates electricity. As noted above, Fig. 14 is a rest state and the generators 104 are at their rest lengths. In response to the introduction of water wave energy, the center buoy 1402C shifts to the left closer to the left buoy 1402L as shown in Fig. 15. The generators 104 in generator set 1404A contract while the generators in 104 in generator set 1404B expand, in both cases producing electricity in response to the change in length of the individual generators 104.

[0053] The expansion and contraction of the generators 104 creates a spring bias restorative spring force in springs 614 to urge the buoys 102 in a direction back toward the rest position 1406. As the wave energy that moved center buoy 1402C to the left passes, that spring bias restoring force biases center buoy 1402C to the right back toward the rest position 1406 in Fig. 14. The generators 104 in generator set 1404A expand in length, while the generators in 104 in generator set 1404B contract in length, in both cases producing electricity in response to the change in length of the generators.

[0054] How far the buoy 102 moves in response to this restorative spring force depends on the nature of the springs 614 and the resistance of the environment. Thus the center buoy 1402C may only partially return to the rest position 1406, may entirely return to the rest position 1406, or via momentum overshoot past the rest position 1406 and to the right closer to the right buoy 1402R as shown in Fig. 16. The generators 104 in generator set 1404A continue to expand, while the generators in 104 in generator set 1404B continue to contract, in both cases producing electricity in response to the change in length of the generators.

[0055] In the case of overshoot, this will in and of itself create a new restoring force in the opposite direction, biasing the center buoy 1402C back to the left. When center buoy 1402C exhausts the energy of the rightward motion, the spring bias restoring force will bias center buoy 1402C to the left back toward the rest position 1406 in Fig. 14, which center buoy 1402C will again overshoot. The result is an oscillation of center buoy 1402C back forth relative to its rest position 1406, with the generators 104 continuously generating electricity in response to the movement. The oscillation will continue until natural damping from energy extraction, friction, and/or water resistance remove the energy and center buoy 1402C returns to its rest position 1406.

[0056] The amount of movement of buoys 102 and corresponding change in length of the generators 104 will be based on combination of factors, including but not limited to the amount of energy (e.g., wave energy, momentum from restoring bias), water resistance to movement of buoy 102, return bias of the spring, encountering the maximum scope of expansion or contraction, etc.

[0057] The left to right motion in Figs. 14-16 is exemplary only. As shown in Figs. 17- 24, the position of buoys 102 can move in location (e.g., X, Y and/or X axis) and/or orientation (pitch, tilt and/or yaw) in response to the shape and direction of the particular water wave. By way of non-limiting example, Figs. 17-22 individually relative to Fig. 14 show movement of the center buoy 1402C in different directions from the rest state 1406. Viewed as a sequence, Figs. 17-22 show an initial rise in center buoy 1402C from Fig. 14 and then moving along a clockwise track around rest position 1406. Figs. 23 and 24 show center buoy 1402C oscillating about its pitch axis. These displayed movements are exemplary only.

[0058] As noted above, Figs. 14-24 are discussed with respect to (a) fixed left and right buoys 1404L/R and (b) reaction to energy of a single wave. In actual deployment in an ocean, left and right buoys 1404L/R may be free floating along with center buoy 1402C, and multiple waves as naturally found in water turbulence may be present.

[0059] The free floating nature of the buoys 1404 induces additional movements beyond what is shown in Figs. 14-24, and specifically as restorative bias of the springs. For example, if center buoy 1402C moves left as shown in Fig. 15, then the restorative bias of the springs 614 in generators 1404A may also push left buoy 1402L to move to the left, while the bias of the springs in generators 1404B may pull right buoy 1402R to move to the left; the movement of the lone center buoy 1402C thus caused a movement in the buoys 1402 L/R to which it was directly connected by the intervening generators 104.

[0060] If any additional buoys 102 were connected to buoys 1404L or 1404R, then those additional buoys 102 may move in response thereto akin to a sequence of dominos. The amount of movement may expect to dampen as it cascades through the network. For example with respect to Fig. 14, movement of buoy 1402L may directly create movement of buoy 1042C, indirectly create a smaller amount of movement in buoy 1404R, and so on for any buoy that might be connected to buoy 1404R. Depending on the size of the network and dampening conditions, the indirect influence may cascade through the entire network, only meaningfully indirectly influence buoys within 1-3 adjacent connections, or not meaningfully influence any buoys beyond the direct connection to adjacent buoys.

[0061] Thus, as wave energy puts any one buoy 102 in motion, that buoy 102 will shift position, expanding the length of some generators 104 while contracting the length of other generators 104. Some of that energy also translates into the connected buoys 102, causing them to move as well, which in turn adjust the length of other generators 104 that they are connected to. That motion cascades into still other buoys 102, across the network (or at least as far as dampening conditions allow). Similarly, the contraction efforts of the springs pull the generators back toward rest position, which (a) may generate further motion of buoys that cascades through the network and (b) the contraction can overshoot, creating a back and forth oscillation in the length of the generators 104. Thus the initial movement of a single buoy may induce movement in other directly and indirectly connected buoys 102, and the intervening electrical generators 104 capture that movement to generate electricity.

[0062] In addition, ocean water turbulence naturally includes multiple random wave patterns. Thus each and any every buoy may be subject to multiple forces to change position, including newly received wave energy, spring restorative bias effects from prior wave energy, and/or possible reactions to movement of other buoys in the network in response to prior wave energy. Thus each of the connected buoys 102 in the network may be changing positions at the same time. Ultimately in naturally turbulence of ocean conditions all buoys 102 are in seemingly random motion bobbing and shifting in the water, imparting a near continuous expansion and contraction of the generators 104 and producing electricity in response thereto. The motion of the buoys 102 and corresponding generation of electricity will continue indefinitely so the water turbulence is sufficient to generate motion in the buoys.

[0063] Referring now to Figs. 25-28, the number of buoys 102 shown in the network 2500 is expanded to seven in a hexagon shape with one buoy 102 at the center. The center buoy has adjacent buoys 102 corresponding to each pair of its connectors 212 and is thus fully utilized. The remaining buoys have less adjacent buoys, and thus some of the connectors 212 are not utilized. Figs. 25-27 show non-limiting examples of positions that the buoys may take in response to water motion. Figs. 25-27 viewed in oscillating sequence (e.g., Fig. 25→26→27→26→25→26→etc.) can be considered an animation of a non- limiting example of how buoys 102 bob about in water turbulence.

[0064] All of the buoys 102 may be moveable, although some may be anchored to prevent movement of the network. Referring now to Fig. 33, fixed stations 3302 could be provided with top and bottom plates 210 and 204 as found in buoys 102 to provide connections to an anchored point.

[0065] Referring now to Fig. 29, a network 2900 is shown expanded to 70 buoys. Each buoy may be connected to its adjacent buoys as discussed above, although this need not be the case as shown by gap 2902.

[0066] Referring now to Fig. 33, another embodiment of a buoy is shown. The buoy is the same as buoy 102 as discussed herein, save that upper paddle 3202 and/or lower panel 3204 may be present. Upper paddle may 3202 capture wind energy while lower paddle 3402 may capture energy from sub-surface turbulence (e.g., sub-surface currents).

[0067] As discussed above, one or more generators 104 may be used between buoys, of which four are shown. In another embodiment, different numbers of generators could be used. By way of non-limiting example, ion another embodiment diagonal generators 804 and 806 are present while the upper and lower generators 802 and 804 are omitted or allocated for different purposes, such as desalinization.

[0068] The above embodiments have several advantages over the prior art. One advantage is that prior art systems primarily capture energy from the vertical component of a change in buoy location (up and down with the waves), but capture little meaningful energy from other changes in buoy location or orientation. For example, the orientation change of buoy 1402C in Fig. 23 triggers an electricity generating change in length of all eight generators 104, and then further electricity generating changes in length as the buoy 1402C begins to oscillate between the positions shown in Figs. 23 and 24; if the network were larger, there may be further cascade effects as described herein. In contrast, the same orientation change in the prior art system 3200 may generate no meaningful amount of electricity.

[0069] Another advantage is in the size of the generators. Generators 104 can be made smaller and lighter than the prior art, which allows for the use of components (e.g., mechanical springs) that were not viable at larger sizes.

[0070] Another advantage is ease of deployment. Whereas the prior art required an anchor for each buoy, the buoys 102 anchor each other. A small number of anchors

(potentially even only one) may be sufficient to keep the network from floating away.

[0071] Referring now to Fig. 30, a buoy system 3000 is shown. A central buoy 3002 is connected by generators 3004 by an arm 3006 of platform 3008; four generators 3004 (and/or hydraulic positions) are shown, although the invention is not so limited and any number of generators 3004 may be used. Platform 3008 may be any supporting structure, such as part of a ship, seawall, building, etc.; the invention is not limited to the type of platform. Movement of buoy 3002 causes movement of the generators 3004 which generates electricity as discussed above. Arms 3006 may be moveably mounted to allow for excessive height changes of the water line beyond what generators 3004 can absorb. Multiple buoy system 3000 can be mounted on a platform as appropriate.

[0072] Referring now to Fig. 31, a buoy system 3100 is shown. The embodiment is the same as Fig. 30, save that a dispersed group of buoys 3102 is used, at least some of the buoys 3102 are connected by generators 104; one generator 3004 is shown for each buoy 3102, but this need not be the case. In this environment, the buoyancy of the buoys 3102 may compensate at least in part for the weight of the arm 3006 or other connected components. The shafts 3104 between the buoys 3102 may be fixed length or adjustable length, and if adjustable length may themselves be generators or hydraulic/air pistons as discussed herein.

[0073] Typically a change in position of a buoy will cause a length change in each of the connected generators. However, this need not be the case, and in particular there may at a given movement be a combination of applied forces that only move some of the generators 104.

[0074] Electrical connections as is known in the art collects electricity produced by the generators and conveys it to central location for further deployment.

[0075] In the above embodiments the buoys 102 are connected by generators 104.

However, the invention is not so limited, and other components could be used for such connections. For example, at least some connections could be linear pistons that change length to apply pressure to force sea water through a membrane, thereby converting it into fresh water. The architecture of such desalinization products are known and not discussed further herein. [0076] The specification and drawings are, accordingly, to be regarded in an illustrative rather than a restrictive sense. It will, however, be evident that various modifications and changes may be made thereunto without departing from the broader spirit and scope of the invention as set forth in the claims.