While an attractive energy source, ocean waves present a fluid dynamics challenge. While wind, tides and currents are relatively constant in time, the flow direction in a wave induced flow field changes direction through 360 degrees with each wave passage. This requires entirely new engineering approaches to efficiently interact with waves as an energy source. Done properly, though, major efficiency gains can be achieved compared with other alternative energy technologies.
Ocean waves contain extremely large amounts of energy. Wave energy converters must be able to withstand the high loads imposed by wind, waves and currents. This is where most traditional wave energy converters have suffered failure, sometimes as early as during initial deployment.