Historically, the major barriers to the success and commercial viability of wave energy are the difficulties in adapting to changing wave conditions, and capturing the potential of every wave. To date, control systems designed to capture and utilise wave energy have been unable to harness the full potential of each wave owing to the slow response of hydraulic or geared mechanisms. Trident Energy’s new control technology allows for real-time adaptation, so the potential of each wave is fully harnessed.
According to Trident Energy, the successful demonstration is a plus in the development for the commercial viability of wave energy in the long term as it purports to reduce the cost of electricity generated by waves. In addition, according to the company, the technology has a more immediate impact for other renewable applications which can utilise real-time control technology, namely offshore wind turbines.
Steve Packard, CEO of Trident Energy, said the technology stands to benefit the offshore wind industry as a whole by reducing costs and providing greater safety for operators. Specifically, Trident Energy’s generator and control technology aims to provide a diverse source of wave-generated auxiliary power for wind turbines, thereby reducing the need for offshore refuelling. This protects the wind turbine against damage, reduces costs and improves safety by minimising the need for personnel access to the wind turbine for diesel refuelling.
Trident Energy acknowledged several key partners critical to the successful demonstration: the University of Cambridge, Rockwell Automation, Westbury Control Systems, RJW Engineering and Small & Co.