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Search for novel wave energy converters results in £2.25m award to technology innovators

02 November 2015

Wave Energy Scotland (WES) has today announced, subject to contract, the list of successful applicants following its second, competitive call for novel wave energy converters. Over £2.25m will be awarded to 8 technology developers and consortia, including 5 Scottish companies all looking to advance their technology through rigorous testing and, in time, towards commercialisation. These projects will complete Stage 1 of the WES technology development process, with contract costs in the region of £300k each over 12 months.

The open call received 37 compliant applications from companies and consortia located all around Europe, which have completed specific background device development work.  Each successful application has been awarded up to 100 percent of the costs for their technology development project.  WES will continue to support technologies right through the different development stages with projects subject to a stage-gate review process in order to progress. The projects which have been successful in this call represent new technologies, or significant improvements on current concepts, which have a realistic prospect of delivering a commercially viable device. Metrics of affordability, reliability, survivability and performance were assessed during the evaluation process, with the projects working towards proving some of the claims.

Minister for Energy Fergus Ewing said:
“I am delighted that Wave Energy Scotland, our unique body which brings together the best engineering and academic minds in a collaborative research and development programme to accelerate wave technology, is continuing to attract global interest from across Europe and beyond.
“I am very pleased to see that Scottish firms and institutions lead five of the eight projects in the second call for novel wave energy converters. This once again affirms the home-grown expertise that we have right here on our own doorstep.
“These novel projects will bring us closer to developing a successful wave energy industry with Scotland firmly at the helm.”

Tim Hurst, Managing Director, Wave Energy Scotland said,   “WES has again received a wide international interest in the call for novel wave energy converters with 169 organisations involved in the applications. Wave and tidal energy represent a significant opportunity for the whole of the UK. The quality of applications from UK based companies and consortia reflected their knowledge and experience in wave energy technology development. These new partnerships represent a superb opportunity to work with a wider spread of companies and academia to develop the winning wave energy converter design.”

Steve Thomson, Chairman of WES’ Advisory Group commented,

“The WES programme is clearly beginning to build momentum. The calls attracted submissions from several international consortia reflecting the current global interest in developing effective wave energy technology. WES is leading from the front by supporting the best concepts in the world at this time.

Descriptions of successful projects
Note:  Projects are not listed in order of final score or ranking.

Stage 1 Projects Novel Wave Energy Converters
Project: Attenuator Cost of Energy Reduction (ACER)
Lead Partner: 4C Engineering

Description: The Sea Power Platform is a two-body Wave Energy Converter (WEC) that has been under development since 2008. The WEC is classed as a floating attenuator device with energy extracted via the relative motion of two bodies connected by a hinged joint. A PTO system interfaces the two bodies at the hinge and extracts power by damping the motions of the device in wave climates. This project will bring together design engineers and experts from various fields to carry out realistic small scale testing and conceptual full scale studies in order to quantify the cost of energy  (and hence gauge how economical the device could be in a proposed novel form).
Other partners: Sea Power Ltd
Contract Amount: £300,000

Project: WaveTrain Sloped Pneumatic WEC
Lead Partner: Joules Energy Efficiency Services Ltd

Description: The WaveTrain device is essentially an array of several power modules, each utilising a collection of parallel inclined tubes, open at the bottom but closed with a canopy at the free surface and utilising a pneumatic turbine power take-off system.
Other partners: None
Contract amount: £291,039

Project: WaveNET Series 12
Lead Partner: Albatern Ltd

Description: Albatern Ltd are developers of the WaveNET array system for wave energy conversion. The array is constructed of hexagonally interconnected Squid modules, each consisting of three articulated link arms connected together in a star formation at a central node with a surface piercing central riser. Passing waves induce motion at the articulated joints, and this relative motion is converted to electrical power via a hydraulic take-off system.
Other partners: None
Contract amount: £259,867

Project: Mocean Wave Energy Converter
Lead Partner: Mocean Energy Ltd

Description:  The Mocean WEC is a hinged raft. Wave forcing and the bodies’ dynamic responses leads to a motion about the hinge (called flex), which drives a power take-off mechanism that converts the kinetic energy into electricity. It has 7 degrees of freedom (DOF). The innovation of the Mocean WEC is in the design of the shapes of the bodies, which dramatically improves its dynamics and thus power absorption.
Other partners: University of Edinburgh
Contract amount: £299,491

Project: CCell Mark 3 – Novel Curved WEC Optimisation
Lead Partner: Zyba Limited

Description: CCell is an Oscillating Wave Surge Converter (OWSC) designed to maximise the energy extracted from ocean waves through curvature of the paddle. Laboratory tests of the curved Mark 1 CCell paddle and its control system have demonstrated a four-fold increase in performance-to-cost ratio compared to other flap-based WECs. The curved structure not only improves the hydrodynamic performance, extracting more energy from each wave, but it also provides additional strength that reduces the amount of material needed to construction the paddle (also the prime mover).
Other partners: The University of Bath
Contract amount: £252,024.88

Project: AISV - Automatically Inflatable and Stowable Volume for step reduction in WEC cost of energy
Lead Partner: Quoceant Ltd

Description: The Novel Device Concept proposed here is a large Automatically Inflatable and Stowable Volume ('AISV') to significantly change the hull volume of a given machine configuration to deliver a much better engineering and economic compromise, rather than a completely new machine concept or class.
Contract amount: £300,000

Project: Anaconda Novel Wave Energy Converter
Lead Partner: Checkmate Seaenergy Ltd
Description: Anaconda is a radically new approach to wave energy conversion. In essence, it is a long water-filled flexible rubber tube floating just beneath the sea surface and aligned in the direction of wave travel, with a power generating turbine at the stern. As a wave passes, the tube flexes due to varying pressures in the sea causing a "bulge" wave to propagate down the tube’s length, gathering energy from the sea wave as it goes. Continuous energy gathering results from careful design of the system, matching a resonance between the bulge wave and the incident sea wave. Energy from the sea wave is stored in the tube as the bulge wave grows and stretches the rubber. The bulge wave travels just in front of the wave rather like a surfer, picking up energy as it progressively increases in size. At the end of the tube, the bulge wave energy surge drives a turbine in the power take off after the flow has been smoothed.
Other partners: None
Contract amount: £271,012

Project: Advanced Archimedes Waveswing
Lead Partner: AWS Ocean Energy Ltd

Description: This project will investigate potential for significant improvements to the economic performance of the Archimedes Waveswing™ WEC following recent innovations and developments. The original Waveswing concept was tested and demonstrated at large scale offshore Portugal in 2004 however despite significant research and development effort the configuration was found not to provide an economic solution to offshore wave power generation at that time. Recent work by AWS Ocean Energy has improved the fundamental understanding of the device and as a result has identified new configurations for the concept which will provide a very significant improvement to the cost of energy whilst reducing technical risk.
Other partners: None
Contract amount: £284,853

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