University of Dundee to study wave power anchoring

A new research project launched by the University of Dundee aims to look at “mooring and anchoring” systems for wave power projects, after the marine power industry warned that anchoring problems were threatening to “stall and limit” wave developments.

The Geowave project aims to overcome some of the technical and economic hurdles associated with anchoring wave energy devices to the seabed.

And, the research may also have further applications for other types of offshore energy, such as floating platforms for offshore wind turbines.

Lead by the University of Dundee and funded with €1.1million from the European Union FP7 programme, the project also involves the University of Western Australia and University College Cork, together with a number of small to medium-sized enterprises, including Lloyds Register, Seaflex AB, Deep Sea Anchors, Wavebob and Cathie Associates.

"There is great potential for wave power to be a valuable source of renewable energy but if it is to be realised we have to make it robust and cost-effective," said Dr Jonathan Knappett, senior lecturer in the School of Engineering, Physics and Mathematics at the University of Dundee, and the project’s co-ordinator.

"One of the big challenges facing the industry is how wave energy convertors can be safely attached or anchored to the sea bed. Currently this accounts for around one-third of the production costs of convertors. That cost needs to come down if they are to be used within a fully commercial wave farm. If we can reduce the costs associated with station-keeping, then it will go a long way to making wave power an energy source that we can harness more effectively."

Geowave plans to conduct industry-specified research on a new generation of offshore anchors and mooring components deemed to have the highest economical and technical merit for mooring wave energy devices. The results will be shared with the SME partners in the project.

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