The Western Australian company, Bombora Wave Power Pty Ltd, has won a GE Ecomagination award for a wave power generator which it is developing to capture the energy of near-shore waves with an average wave height of just 1.4 metres.

Their Bombora device is submerged on the seabed at shallow depths. It captures energy using a flexible, air-filled membrane. As the wave passes it, the device operates like a series of foot pumps, pressurising air into a common manifold system to a drive a turbine and generator.

The device has a wide front, parallel with the waves enabling the Bombora to capture more of the water column's energy. Each unit is planned to be generate 1.5 megawatts of electricity.

The company says that its system is simpler than other wave devices and does not need to be finely tuned to the waves to pick up their energy.

Bombora is currently working with University of Western Australia to assess potential sites for a pilot plant off Western Australia.