She survived the Chernobyl disaster as a newborn. At 24 she founded an award-winning wave energy company. Meet Inna Braverman.
By Eline Johnsen Helledal Photos: Eco Wave Power
She’s turning 34 in April. By that time, Inna Braverman has founded an award-winning company for renewable energy, and been listed as one of the “females changing the world” by Wired. Her business, Eco Wave Power, recently received the UNs Global Climate Action Award. And the list goes on.
As you’ve probably realized, the attention is well deserved. Eco Wave Power offers a unique and innovative solution within the wave energy segment, aiming to meet the increasing demand for renewables.
But, before we dive into how all of that works, you should get to know Inna first.
A second chance
Next year, Eco Wave Power turns 10. And if there’s one thing this last decade has taught Inna, it is that passion is the greatest renewable energy source. And to never give up.
– I got a second chance in life, and I really want to do something good with it, Inna says.
In 1986, the explosion of reactor no. 4 at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in Ukraine caused the worst nuclear disaster in history. It exposed hundreds of thousands of people to radioactive contamination. Inna was one of them.
– I suffered from respiratory arrest and clinical death. Luckily, my mother, a nurse, came to my crib on time and gave me mouth to mouth recitation. It saved my life, she says.
The future is female
Since then, renewable energy, or wave power specifically, has become Inna’s mission.
– I truly believe that wave energy is an amazing cause. Two-thirds of the world population is living on the coastline. Wave energy can produce twice the amount of electricity that the world produces now, she says.
But, with the underrepresentation of women in tech, she worries that inequalities represent a significant barrier to develop inclusive climate responses:
I truly believe in inspiring and empowering other women, and I really hope that my work with Eco Wave Power will inspire others to do the same.
Norway next up?
First, let’s state the obvious: the world is in desperate need of renewable energy. And while the technologies of solar, wind and hydropower are quite well-developed, wave power has for a long time remained a nut to crack.
Hopefully up until now. In Norway only, the energy potential of wave power is comparable to the overall potential of all river systems in total. But current solutions are not able to meet the needs, not from a technical or economical aspect.
– Norway has significant potential with a long coastline, prevailing west winds and high wave energy resources. According to studies, they are of the order of 400 TWh/year, says Braverman.
In comparison, the current total energy production in Norway is 147 TWh/year. A pretty amazing potential, if you ask us.
How it works
So how does Eco Wave Power differ from the rest? Inna sums it up in a few key points:
The majority of systems are installed offshore, making them expensive, with low reliability due to harsh conditions, which makes it hard to insure. Lastly, it has an environmental impact as it connects to the ocean floor.
Eco Wave Power is installed on existing human-made structures, such as piers or jetties – solving all of the above-mentioned issues.
– Overall, the wave energy field is nearing commercialization. However, to effectively reach wide implementation, it requires governmental support, and access and collaboration with academia and with leading strategic partners and industry experts, Braverman says.
– With corona turning the world upside down as we speak, do you think it has the potential of accelerating the shift towards renewables?
– I feel that Covid-19 reinforced that a significant share of our day to day activities have a negative impact on our environment.
Images of clear skies over China represented a glimpse of what it might look like if we took better care of the earth.
– One expert even said that images like these could instill in people more appreciation for clean skies and water. To motivate them to retain some of that even as we hop back into polluting cars, boats, and airplanes. I truly hope that will be the case!
Eline Johnsen Helledal er frilansjournalist og tar en mastergrad i internasjonale miljøstudier. Hun heier på korte, lange, viktige og gode fortellinger om klima og miljø. Fordi kloden vår trenger det, og fordi verden aldri blir mett på gode historier. Dere kan følge @elinehelledal på Instagram.
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