Inverness, Scotland-based AWS Ocean Energy has recorded ‘highly encouraging’ results from the current phase of sea trials of its wave energy device at the European Marine Energy Centre in Orkney.
During the trials at EMEC’s Scapa Flow test site, the Waveswing energy converter captured average power over 10 kW and peaks of 80 kW, during a period of moderate wave conditions. These figures exceeded the developer’s own predictions by 20%. Other key findings underlined the ‘survivability potential’ of the subsea device which continued to deliver power in poor weather conditions. The testing programme also demonstrated that deployment of the device from ‘quayside to fully operational’ is possible in under 12 hours.
The current phase of sea trials is scheduled to complete by the year end and AWS is looking to re-deploy for further testing early in 2023.
Simon Grey, CEO of AWS Ocean Energy said: “We believe this performance compares very favourably with equivalent figures for any previous wave device tested on the same site. We are now actively seeking discussions with commercialisation partners, other end users and anyone who is genuinely interested in developing commercial wave power. This includes for example sponsored testing programmes, so that partners can get to know the Waveswing and its potential up close.”
Looking to the future, Mr. Grey added, “The Waveswing features a single absorber design, with unique features which make it ideal for remote power applications such as powering subsea oilfield assets and oceanographic monitoring. However, for utility scale power, we are convinced the future lies in multi-absorber platforms which can achieve the scale necessary for wave power to make a significant contribution to renewable energy supplies. We expect to develop platforms hosting up to twenty 500 kW units with a potential capacity of 10 MW per platform”.
When installed, the 50 tonne, seven-metre high, four-metre diameter device is moored to a gravity-base anchor on the seabed using a single tension tether and sits around three metres below the surface. The Waveswing generates energy by reacting to changes in pressure caused by passing waves. The subsea location and ability to winch low in the water column allows extreme storm loadings to be avoided so that the device can continue to operate in rough sea conditions. The Waveswing is also designed to react to long ocean swell waves as well as short, wind-driven seas, for high energy capture.
The £3.4 million prototype development project has been funded by Wave Energy Scotland (WES), as part of the Novel Wave Energy Converter development programme. The demonstration at EMEC is also supported by the Interreg North-West Europe’s Ocean DEMO project.
Photo: Waveswing on-station underwater in Scapa Flow, Orkney (Credit: Scapa Technical / Alfik Shorebase Services)