Enel poised to harness wave energy potential

Enel Green Power (EGP) is making advancements in the wave energy sector with several projects going forward to their next stages.

With its 8,000 km-long coast, Italy is one of the European countries that can benefit the most from harnessing wave energy, according to EGP.

The clean energy subsidiary of the Italian energy giant Enel is collaborating with other companies and research organizations on various wave energy projects, including the one run with RSE – Energy System Research, on the development of the WaveSax wave energy device.

WaveSax device uses a Wells turbine and a system of oscillating water columns to produce electricity.

Based on preliminary results and the prospects of its application, EGP signed a collaboration agreement to assess the power take-off (PTO) of the device in real marine conditions.

The first step for this purpose was to test the scale prototype of the WaveSax device, which was recently concluded in the ship model basin at the CNR-INSEAN laboratory in Rome.

EGP has also collaborated with Wave for Energy, a spin-off of the Turin Polytechnic University, on a wave energy project that saw the deployment of the 100kW Inertial Sea Wave Energy Converter (ISWEC) off Pantelleria island, Sicily, in 2015.

ISWEC device is designed as a sealed hull that uses a gyroscopic system to exploit wave’s slopes to produce energy. Its metal shell contains the mechanical conversion, the cooling system, storage and electronics in a waterproof environment.

In addition, EGP has late in 2016 bought the H24 wave energy device from the Italian tidal and wave energy players 40South Energy, and Elements Works.

The company deemed the move as the ‘first big step toward potential future advantages for Enel’ in the niche market of wave energy.

Shortly after acquiring the H24 device, EGP, together with Invitalia Ventures, closed a €2.25 million co-investment round in 40South Energy, set to support the commercialization of the H24 technology.

Furthermore, EGP has in partnership with French naval and defense specials DCNS created the Marine Energy Research and Innovation Center (MERIC) in Chile – the country that has an estimated potential of about 175GW of marine energy, according to EGP.

EGP said it planned to install an experimental wave energy converter at MERIC that will work as a ‘testing ground’ to compare theoretical results with real data.

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