back to article 'Anaconda' 200m rubber snake generator scheme gets funding

British professors have secured government research funding for their plans to generate energy using gigantic black rubber snake-like devices moored off the UK coasts. The "Anaconda" is intended to harvest power using patented "Bulge" wave technology. A full-size device, according to the designers, could easily be 200m long …


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  1. narly


    Far be it from The Register to report on something as ground breaking as the Anaconda, without having to resort to vague teenage "willy" humour. Sigh.

    Thumb Up

    "a dozen chorus girls hand in hand to reach around it"

    If this is not yet an official Reg measure please make it so.

  3. caffeine addict Silver badge


    What a tourist attraction... the Severn estuary filled with a hundred 200m spunking anacondas.

    That's got to be some extreme porn, that...

  4. pastamasta

    Refractory period?

    What's the projected wear and tear on a device like this? I would imagine that if the mighty tube were to be compressed too often and too strongly by repeated wave thrusts, then after a certain amount of energetic bulging it would be able to bulge no more, and might need to be withdrawn to replace the exterior rubber and perhaps allow the device to recover its stability.

    The one with "Overextended Metaphor" on the back, please.

  5. James


    That's knobalicious.

  6. Dave
    IT Angle

    Image Caption

    "Anaconda may be able to satisfy our insatiable demands"

    Surely that should be 'otherwise insatiable' ?


    And where's the PH angle, or indeed IT angle?

  7. Edward Rose

    Environmental Protection.

    I wonder if they stop to consider that littering is deemed as enviromentally nasty (habitats et al). Based on the principle foreign objects are at location X being littering. Where's the line? (I know, it's the long rubbery things at sea...)

    I'm not saying it IS bad, but have they actually looked at the effects it would have to a full extent. I'm sure massive rubber tubes would have some effect, not sure I'd like it (esp if they try and kill the severn bore at any point) I know it seems slightly nimby, but tough.

    Still reckon we should get prisoners to create their own 'prison power' if they don't do the work, they don't get light or TV.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "The mighty spurt produced by the bulging, turgid Anaconda is captured and drained of its energy"

    I feel so dirty having read this.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Here we go again...

    Verily and forsooth, that which spurteth must contrariwise suck also !

    A floating toothpaste tube. It's just bound to work.

  10. Anonymous Coward

    Quite astonishing

    It is rather impressive really that such a passive device is able to be active in power generation.... or would it simply be term versatile?

  11. Anonymous Coward


    Is more known for "Friends of the Right Sort" than "Fellow of the Royal Society".

  12. Dalek13


    If the answer to our energy woes lay in floating, black rubber 'Anaconda's', the UK canal network would have replaces the National Grid by now!

    Mines the one with the 'ribbed tickler' in the pocket...

  13. Louis Cowan


    Surely this constitutes some form of cruelty??

    Think how scabby these things will look when covered in barnacles and crabs. How will I ever be able to paddle again...

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Great, wonderful, but...

    So how many of these do we need to produce a significant amount of energy? And once we've got that many littering the seas around our coast has anybody done any analysis of the impact on the oceans? What happens to the ecosystem if waves are drained of most of their energy before it hits the coast?

    Funny isn't it that we find ourselves in our current situation because nobody thought of the environmental costs of various means of power production. And the solution? To rush to come up with new ways of generating power without any consideration of the environmental impact.

    "It really gives on hope for the future of all life kind. Except of course that we know it hasn't got one."

    With apologies to the late great DN Adams.

  15. Neil


    I for one welcome our phallic wave dwelling overlords.

  16. Iain

    " bulging, turgid Anaconda "

    Sounds a bit like... bum!

    Mines the one with the BA(Hons) in Pop Culture References certificate in the inside pocket

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Minimal enviromental impact I would suspect

    I suspect people are overworrying about these draining a significant portion of the energy from incoming waves. Its my guess, and I expect someone might have the figures, that the amount extracted would be a fraction of a fraction of 1% of the energy present in the seas around the UK. As long as they are suitable spread out, which I assume they would be to maximise the performance of each I doubt there is anything to worry about.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    PH angle

    a chorus girl she ain't but she sure is responsible for some bulges

  19. James Pickett


    Has Lewis had a lie-down yet? I liked the image of the chorus girls, though...

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    >enviromental impact

    Be quite handy if they did reduce the waves, millions of tons of concrete are constantly being replaced as coastal defences get mashed by waves..

    It won't work though, the only solution is that we all live bronze age lifestyles sleeping with our animals in hand built dry stone huts.

  21. Anton Ivanov
    Paris Hilton

    re: hmm

    It is not grownd breaking. The non-rubber-sheated bend and push (OK, innuendo ahoy) version of the same known as Pelamis has been produced by Scots for a while now. An experimental installation off the coast of Portugal was supposed to be operational by now (I have not followed it).

    However as everyone who has had more than one holiday on the Atlantic coast can testify this will not be a salvation to EU needs. Americans with their ever-rumbling Pacific are more lucky. EU has to contend with days and sometimes weeks of having no waves at all. Still, any power is better than no power at all.

    Though personally, my bet is that we do not have the tech to produce rubber that is capable of such abuse for a long period of time so we should probably stick with bendy systems like the Pelamis for now.

  22. Chris

    Ah good...

    ...not just me then. I was getting a little worried there,

    This is something I have just GOT to see working...

    Except that this - like all these revolutionary (windmills - hah!) methods of generating 'free' energy will turn out to be expensive, environmentally unfriendly and unsustainable...

    'Free' energy from environmentally friendly devices - that concept has become the Perpetual Motion Machine of the 21st century.

    The world is full of con-men attempting to sell the damn things.

    Just gather them all together, take 'em round the back and shoot them.

    Then get on with the next generation of nuclear power stations - I for one would like there to be some assurance of being able to buy reasonably priced electricity for the next 50 years or so.

    That isn't going to happen if it keeps getting put off and the money frittered away testing ridiclously impracticable ideas cooked up by starry eyed cranks and con-men!

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    RE: JonB

    Well someone else will if I don't......

    "the only solution is that we all live bronze age lifestyles sleeping with our animals"

    Ewwwwwww !

    Ewe speak for yourself and your own peccadilloes !

  24. Brutus


    I have to say, I felt quite disappointed that this story was not about a machine for creating giant rubber snakes (possibly for use in future episodes of Dr Who or Blake's Seven).

    On the other hand, the entertaining imagery that Mr Page uses almost made up for it.

  25. Neil Barnes Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    a major arse-kicking boffin

    No, I have nothing to contribute to the debate. I just wanted to see that phrase again.

    Paris, because she might enjoy a major arse-kicking boffin.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ JonB

    That only works if a significant proportion of us die first.

  27. Matt Thornton

    RE: Minimal enviromental impact I would suspect

    @AC: ".. suspect ... overworrying ... Its my guess, and I expect ... a fraction of a fraction of 1% ... as long as ... I assume ... I doubt there is anything to worry about."

    You, Sir, should work in politics.

  28. N1AK

    @Idiot AC

    "So how many of these do we need to produce a significant amount of energy? And once we've got that many littering the seas around our coast has anybody done any analysis of the impact on the oceans? What happens to the ecosystem if waves are drained of most of their energy before it hits the coast?"

    About the only thing I can commend this author on, was being smart enough to post AC. We already use a massive amount of resources controlling waterways, building waterways, building coast defences etc.

    No single form of energy generation is without enviromental impact on some level, but using Wave Power especially in locations where we are already trying to limit waves would be about as negligible as possible, and regardless of where we do it a damn sight more enviromentally friendly than digging up thousands of tonnes of coal and throwing it in fires.

    Projects like this also have advantages compared to many other green energy sources, tides wax and wane but are more reliable than wind or sunlight.

  29. AC
    Thumb Down

    so its for making power ...

    how long would it have to run for before all the power that was wasted during its construction is recouped?

    this is a great idea but I don't see a big payoff, just like using solar panels at home, takes 80 years to break even on housing bills !!

  30. Lord Baphomet
    Paris Hilton


    "That only works if a significant proportion of us die first."

    If we continue to allow penis-obsessed mad professors to design a solution to the current issues then there will be a large proportion of us who will be dead, and the only option remaining to the few survivors will be to live in hand-made dry stone huts.

    +1 for nuculear fuel ;-)

    Paris because she'd know how to spell nuclear correctly.

  31. Pete James


    Perhaps your comment that wave power has a negligible impact on the environment is worth visiting.

    At present there is a big concern about such schemes being sited in the Severn Estuary precisely because of the envionmental impact it will have. Bodies including the WWF have looked carefully at proposed schemes and listed the damage they would do. It's pretty comprehensive and in fact showed that such a scheme would have a bad impact on the environment.

  32. Matt Thornton


    "No single form of energy generation is without enviromental impact on some level, but using Wave Power especially in locations where we are already trying to limit waves would be about as negligible as possible, and regardless of where we do it a damn sight more enviromentally friendly than digging up thousands of tonnes of coal and throwing it in fires."

    You're the idiot. I don't know why you're even commenting, let alone berating someone else, who actually raised sensible questions that must be answered. You've obviously never heard of the term "Environmental Impact Assessment".

    Next time why not post only if you actually have something to contribute, even if it's just a willy joke or questionable Paris Hilton angle, which is preferable to spouting off on a subject you clearly have no clue about. Go get your coat.

  33. James Bassett

    Wave v Tidal

    Will people stop getting the severn estuary scheme (which is tidal) and Wave power schemes mixed up.

    Yes, the Severn Estuary scheme would have a major environmental effect. Personally, I think the environment would adapt pretty quickly and people vastly underate the adaptability of ole mother nature.

    Wave generators could have an impact on marine wildlife, particularly in terms of migratory routes or breeding grounds (if not carefully sited), but nothing like the impact of a tidal estuary scheme and the two are, bar the water thing, completely unrelated.

    Christ, we did Tidal v Wave in 1st year Geography <cough> years ago. Where the hell were you lot?

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    >Ewe speak for yourself and your own peccadilloes !

    What else are you going to do for fun when there's no telly?

    Before you know it someone'll be whittering on about how turtles are trying to breed with giant floating rubber cocks.... oh, here we are...

    > "Wave generators could have an impact on marine wildlife..."

    Told ya, you can't win.

    >"That only works if a significant proportion of us die first."

    Well, life expectancy was low in the bronze age anyhow, so we can probably do both at once.

  35. Pete James

    @James Bassett

    I think that's my bad so I'll hold my hands up on that one James. Nice to learn something new every day though so thanks for the intro.

    And thanks for the comment about when you did wave versus tidal. Sadly in my schooldays our geography was about the forthcoming split between UK and Europe and what the channel between us would be called.

  36. mahoney

    oh, I get it!

    It's funny because it sounds like a big penis!

  37. Andrew Brooks

    Unforeseen effects

    The willy metaphor is drained and limp so I'll move on to my main thrust: as noted in previous messages, we have here yet another failure to appreciate that everything we do has consequences, even if we can't see them right away. Of course these things will have an impact! You'd think by now we would've learned that much.

    In Toronto, where I live, they've hit on the idea of cooling downtown office buildings in summer by pumping in cold water from the bottom of Lake Ontario. This 'solution' is touted as environmentally friendly. I have yet to hear anyone suggest that systematically warming up one of the Great Lakes might have results besides the cooling of office towers.

    Just one thought at a time, please, everybody!

  38. Steven Raith


    How do you know what a big penis sounds like? had one close to your ear? ;-)

    I'm a bit iffy about wave power projects after whatever toss Osprey tried up in the pentland apart, shortly after being trialled.

    And that is all I have to add.

    FAO pedants and those taking this seriously - all I wanted to do was make a ghey joke, don't bring up facts and figures about the Osprey project please, ta :-)

    Steven "Currently a bit pissed" Raith.

  39. Uwe Dippel

    ocean waves

    draining the ocean waves close to the coasts is probably even welcome, and I am not some aspiring politician. The waves are broken down at the beaches in any case.

    What I fear more is the effect on the marine life, a disconnect between the wide oceans and the ecology of the waters between the phallic sucker and the beaches. Crabs live with the waves, waves clear the water from pollutants, and so forth.

    I for one advocate that we break down our bad habits with respect to energy instead. That does not create any unsightly erections in front of Brighton or Blackpool, neither does it involve huge production costs, maintenance et al.

    But I did enjoy the article, well done El Reg! Give us more! Can't wait to see the picture of a dozen of chorus girls doing it with their hands around the shaft!

  40. Uwe Dippel

    Forgot that one

    Full maximal output power is 1 MW.

    According to

    the installed power generation capacity is around 70 GW.

    Assuming that the 1 MW is correct (probably it is on the spin-doctor side), 70.000 gigantic phalli will have to be set up to replace nuclear and fossil energy.

    For each percent, 700 of the adornments will be needed. At a length of 200 m and the proper distance, assume 300 m, 210 km of coastline will be adorned by structures that can excite chorus girls. Per each 1 percent of electricity generation, 210 km of coastline.

    Maybe the arse-kicking boffin should retire.

  41. Steven Knox Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    @Lord Baphomet

    Yes, but could she spell 'catastrophe'?

  42. James

    @Uwe Dippel

    When will people stop saying because we'd need 10 gazillion doofangles to replace the existing power gen kit, and there's no way we can do that, we should do nothing instead and keep on using coal/nuclear/etc.

    The existing messy generation kit is never going to be replaced by a single type of clean technology. It's going to be a bit of this one, and a bit of that one, and some of that other stuff too. Wave generation should comprise part of an overall solution - just because it isn't a total solution doesn't mean it's of no value.

    And I'm sure if these things start to wear out and lose rigidity, a little blue Pfizer pill is all that would be required to make 'em good as new...

  43. Anonymous Coward

    What happens after...

    "The mighty spurt produced by the bulging, turgid Anaconda is captured and drained of its energy"

    1) Then it weakens and has a Cig?

    2) 3 minutes of power followed by a nap?

    3) Damn Algae blooms

    4) Woody Allen had this in a movie

    5) You'll feel the sea move!

    6) Is it hot here?

    Mine is the raincoat...

  44. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    wet dreams

    obviously some boffin is trying to get research money for his wet dreams here...

  45. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Just like the picture

    Will it be anchored 'Prince Albert' style?

  46. Roger Heathcote


    @Chris - Yes, effort and ingenuity are overrated aren't they? Better not to try at all eh! Hang on while I'll give the guys who built Chernobyl a call...

    You hope you have plenty of cheap energy in 50 years time, no doubt so you can still enjoy your Jerremy Clarkeson DVDs on your 10Kw plasma screen, great, well you think the Chinese, Russians, Africans and Arabs won't want the same? More nuclear power will just make Uranium the new oil and instead of a bit of soot and global warming we'll have every country on earth churning out tonnes of nuclear waste and - yes you guessed - PLUTONIUM! Hand up who thinks the world will be a better place when zimbabwe is making PLUTONIUM? Fucking brilliant. Fusion might be worth exploring but fission, as a method of generating 'cheap' or 'clean' electricity is SHIT.

    @AC - I share your concern that not much attention seems to be being spent on the environmental cost of producing these technologies but solar is becoming fairly practical (at least in Cali!) Watch this -

    Also, some microgeneration technologies looks like they can be made without clearing acres of rainforrest, check out -

    One of the biggest problems I can see right now is Britains stubborn refusal to get serious about wind power. If you look at Germany it's ubiquitous, if you look here it's embarrasing... for some reason everyone from Noel Edmonds to the RSPB is railing against them. I guess we'll see how firm their opinions are when the lights start flickering eh!

    Roger Heathcote.

  47. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    even more innuendo..

    After seeing the actual patent image...

    (from here: )

    (PH: because she seems to be the best thing to go with giant cock shaped tubes floating in the water)

  48. Anonymous Coward


    One phrase spring to mind - "motion of the ocean"

  49. TeeCee Gold badge

    "major arse-kicking boffin"?

    I'm sorry, but only a wanker could have come up with this particular approach to wave power.

  50. Crystal


    I am so suprised my computers net nanny even let me read this story. Hmm, maybe this thing has multiple uses?

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