By Renewable Energy Focus staff
A pre-commercial demonstration unit is to be tested at sea is now entering the design and build phase, following development funding of £2.5 million secured from the UK’s Technology Strategy Board.
The project team will build and test a 42 m long marine demonstrator with a target rating of 500 kW. It will be tested at the Wave Hub facility off the north coast of Cornwall. A similar commercial wave power device deployed in open seas will have a rating of 1 MW.
The OWEL floating wave energy device is designed to take advantage of the high energy density of deep water ocean waves, and subsequent machines will be built as platforms made up of adjacent ducts moored to the sea bed and open to incoming waves at one end.
The waves repeatedly compress air trapped within the ducts which is directed to drive turbines that will generate electricity.
OWEL says the advantage of its wave power device design is its simplicity and robustness, using tried and tested components and production methods. It has few moving parts, none of which are in the water, which could lead to increased reliability.
The wave energy converter is being developed by OWEL in conjunction with IT Power, which has expertise on tidal and wave energy technologies.