Marine Power Systems unveils WaveSub wave energy device

Marine Power Systems (MPS) is set to unveil its quarter-scale prototype WaveSub wave energy generator, marking a move to a new, sea-based phase of its development.

Designed to operate around 10km from shore, the WaveSub wave energy generator harnesses the continual orbital motion of waves under the surface of the sea.

At full scale, each 100 meters long, 5-megawatt (MW) device will have a similar power output to a very large offshore wind turbine, able to power approximately 5,000 homes.

Scaled up, extensive modelling shows that 100 WaveSub devices would provide a power output of 500MW, equivalent to 500,000 homes, MPS explained,

Following the launch of the WaveSub quarter scale device in Wales, UK, the WaveSub will be towed down the coast to Cornwall, England, where it will be deployed at the marine energy test site FaBTest. Here, MPS will demonstrate the WaveSub’s power-generation capacity across a broad range of sea conditions, the speed and cost-effective price at which it can be installed, its low maintenance costs and its survivability through the harshest of conditions.

Dr Gareth Stockman, CEO of Marine Power Systems said:

“Following a dynamic phase of early pioneer exploration in wave power, the industry has learnt many lessons and is now moving forward with speed and confidence to take a meaningful position in the global shift to 100% renewable energy. We believe the world is on course to get 10% of its electricity from wave power by 2050. The WaveSub has the ability to overcome what MPS has identified as the four main challenges of generating energy at sea. This includes its unique energy capture capabilities, resilience in even the harshest of weather conditions and technical set-up for quick, low cost maintenance and transportability. These features will bring down the cost of wave power generation so that in time it can compete favourably with the generation costs of offshore wind.”

Dr Graham Foster, Chief Technology Officer, Marine Power Systems (MPS) added:

“Gareth Stockman (CEO) and I set up Marine Power Systems in 2008 with one objective; to design and take to market a device which could unleash the energy generation potential of the ocean’s waves. It has taken us nearly a decade to get here but today, Marine Power Systems is proud to unveil its quarter-scale, prototype WaveSub wave energy generation device.

“The WaveSub is the only device that currently addresses what see as the four key challenges of wave energy generation. Our techno-economic forecasting suggests that in time, the WaveSub will be in a strong position to compete with other renewable energy technologies including offshore wind. The UK, currently a global leader in the marine energy sector would see a new maritime-based renewables sector emerge that brings new skilled jobs as well as contributing to carbon reduction commitments. Ultimately, with government and investor support today, waves can join the sun and then wind to provide the clean, affordable and renewable energy of tomorrow.”

The WaveSub operates with a unique power-take-off (PTO) system, the generated electricity transferred to shore with an under-sea cable as with offshore wind power.

In its recent report Making Wave Power Work, MPS outlined its vision for wave power to contribute to 10% of global electricity demand by 2050, based on resource findings by the International Energy Agency.

As it moves into a new phase of testing, MPS is launching an investment opportunity to enable it to move into the final stages of development; the testing of a full-scale multi-MW WaveSub. With investment in place, MPS will be on track to begin installation of a grid connected wave farm by 2020, the company said.