7-8 october
2020 year
Inna Braverman: “I think that if Russian shall decide to put renewable energy as a national priority- then it will be very successful there”

Inna Braverman is an Israeli entrepreneur. Co-founder of Eco Wave Power, the company that developed the patented technology for extracting clean energy from waves.

What started your path in the energy sector and why was Israel chosen, not your own country, Ukraine?

Actually, wave energy is a very personal mission for me. When I was only 2 weeks old, the Chernobyl nuclear reactor exploded, causing the largest nuclear disaster in history. Due to pollution, I began to choke. Fortunately, my mother, who was a nurse, was able in time to give me artificial respiration, which saved my life. In fact, I had a second chance to live, and with it the feeling that I wanted to do something good.

My family immigrated from the USSR to Israel in the 1990s. As a result, since 4 years I live in Israel and that is why Eco Wave Power was established as an Israeli company.

What project was launched as a pilot?

The first real-world project that we launched was on the Crimean peninsula in 2012, it was here that we first checked the concept and created a power matrix for energy production. As soon as we received permission from the port of Jaffa in Israel to install in the port, the system was sent to Israel and has since been operating in Israel.

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How did politicians and people from the energy sector in Israel react to your initiative?

Israel is known to be the Start-Up Nation and the level of openness to new technologies is very high.  Eco Wave Power’s technology recently received recognition as “Pioneering Technology” by the Chief Scientist of Israel Dr. Bracha Halaf (Ministry of Energy)

What problems did you encounter at the first stage?

Many different problems. For example, in order to install our first wave energy power station, we needed to secure insurance. However, the insurance companies had no idea how to insure a wave energy power station, which they have never heard of before, so when we called them to ask for a price-quote, they all said that they know how to insure a house and a car, but not a wave energy power station. Another significant problem was with the negative reputation associated with wave energy due to past failures. Most of our competitors chose to install they equipment in the offshore (4-5 KM into the sea). As a result, their prices were very high and the reliability was very low and this created disbelief in the field.

ECO WAVE POWER is not the only company that uses wave energy. What is unique about your development, and how did you finally prove to your partners that it is worth cooperating with you?

Despite numerous studies that are showing and proving the feasibility of wave energy and the immense impact to be caused by the commercialization of wave energy, this energy source is still not a commercialized.

The reason for the fact that wave energy was lagging behind other renewable energy sources in terms of its’ commercialization efforts is due to the fact that majority of the wave energy developers around the world have chosen to install their wave energy power stations deep into the ocean (in the offshore), since the energy potential there is the greatest. However, such industry’s decision to install in locations with the highest energy availability and density has created a number of factors which hindered the technological development of the whole sector, among which:

  1. The prices of the offshore power stations are higher than usual- as there are high costs associated with offshore installation, maintenance, and connection to the electrical-grid (the process requires ships, divers, underwater transmissions cables and underwater connections)
  2. Offshore wave energy power stations have low reliability-   in the offshore there are shock waves that can reach a height of 20 meters. No man-made equipment can survive those types of loads for extended periods of time.
  3. Insurability- To commercialize any type of technology, it is imperative to ensure that its different components are insurable. Without insurance, financial institutions and private and public investors will find it difficult to invest substantial funds. However, once insurance companies were exposed to the high-costs and low reliability associated with offshore wave energy systems, they refused to insure companies in the field.
  4. Environmental impact- Environmental organizations have considerable say in the deployment of innovative technologies. Ideally, environmentalists should have been the biggest proponents of wave energy. However, they objected the use of offshore wave energy systems as all of them have created a new presence on the ocean floor by the mooring to the ocean floor, which disturbed marine habitats and migration.

When Eco Wave Power was founded, in 2011, the founders of the company understood that in order to develop a commercially viable wave energy technology they had to address and overcome the four main issues that were mentioned above: the cost, reliability, insurability, and environmental impact which had impeded the commercialization of wave energy in the past. Indeed, after several years of development and experimentation, the company succeeded in solving these four main issues as follows:

  • The price of the Eco Wave Power’s wave energy power stations is low, as the floaters attach to pre-existing man-made infrastructures & marine structures such as piers, breakwaters, and jetties (the system cost is estimated at $1 million per megawatt).   
  • Eco Wave Power’s stations are extremely reliable since they aren’t installed in the offshore, but rather on pre-existing ocean structures, and most of the power station’s expensive equipment is located on land (just like a regular power station) with only the station’s floaters located in the water. Additionally, the company has developed a patented storm protection mechanism which automatically raises the floaters out of the water and locks them into place in the case of a storm, which prevents any mechanical damages caused by the storms.
  • Eco Wave Power’s power stations are fully insured by reputable insurance companies
  • Eco Wave Power’s stations have no environmental impact as they don’t introduce anything new into the marine environment and don’t require any mooring to the ocean floor.

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What conditions are needed to apply this technology (except for water, of course)? What is the economic efficiency of this technology?

We need waves of 60 cm and higher. The higher the waves- the more clean energy we can produce.

What, in your opinion, should the conditions in the country be so that you can come to it with your proposal? Is Russia open to new technologies, according to your feelings?

I think that Russia likes to be on the forefront of innovation & when the Government of Russia decides to invest its efforts in a certain field, then they are successful in it. I think that if Russian shall decide to put renewable energy (including wave energy) as a national priority- then it will be very successful there.

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