CorPower-led project boosts WEC technology

  • Research & Development

The Horizon 2020 funded WaveBoost project has drawn to a close with a step change improvement achieved to the reliability and performance of wave energy technology.

Led by CorPower Ocean, the WaveBoost consortium designed and developed a Power Take Off (PTO) system allowing wave energy converters (WECs) to operate safer and more reliably in harsh ocean conditions while increasing annual electricity production by 27 per cent.

The system incorporates a pneumatic module that has 80 per cent less components, thus reducing complexity and CAPEX while improving reliability, compared to previous designs. An energy redistribution system manages fluctuating power input from ocean waves to support grid integration and increase energy production, explains CorPower.

On the performance side, new dynamic seals were design and tested resulting in 70 per cent improvement in friction, while flow losses have been reduced by up to 90 per cent compared to previous product.

The improvements enabled the Levelised Cost of Energy (LCOE) to drop by 18-29 per cent, with operational expenditure expected to decrease by up to 30 per cent.

Lifecycle analysis (LCA) undertaken on a theoretical 50 MW array deployed in Scotland indicated a carbon intensity already as low as 31.4 gCO2e/kWh based on the first prototype WEC generation design.

This carbon intensity is comparable with other renewable technologies today and is over 10 times less than conventional gas turbines, securing the pathway to low carbon intensity WEC technology.

The learnings from the three-year WaveBoost project will be carried forward as CorPower Ocean moves towards the manufacturing, dry testing and deployment of its next full-scale C4 WEC.

The WaveBoost project consortium comprised of sector leaders from Sweden, Portugal and the UK including CorPower Ocean (project lead), Arcos Hydraulik, RISE Research Institutes of Sweden, EDP Innovação, WavEC Offshore Renewables, The University of Edinburgh, and the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC).

Matt Dickson, Waveboost project manager, and technical project manager at CorPower Ocean, said:

“CorPower have a rigorous product verification strategy that follows a structured five-stage process, established as best practice for ocean energy technology by International Energy Agency-OES, ETIP Ocean and Wave Energy Scotland. It involves step-wise validation of survivability, performance, reliability and economics starting with small scale prototypes in Stage 1, continued by sub-system testing and then fully integrated WEC in increasing scales up to array demonstration in Stage 5.

“The successful completion of the H2020 Waveboost project marks a key milestone in our journey and unlocks our progress from Stage 3 into Stage 4 of our program as we scale our WEC technology to full scale.”

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