Newcastle University outlines plans for North Sea wave energy demo
Newcastle University has set sights on turning wave motion into a source of renewable energy with the latest project that will see the installation of a wave energy device prototype in the North Sea.
Led by Newcastle University, the MU-EDRIVE project – short for Marinisation and upscaling of All Electric Drive Train – has been supported with €882,000 (£776,000) by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI).
The project aims to demonstrate the marinization and upscaling of all electric drive trains for wave energy converters through the installation of a generator and power converter to a buoy mounted 3 kilometers off the Northumberland coast at Blyth.
According to the tam of Newcastle University, which is developing the project with researchers from the University of Edinburgh, the deployment is expected to take place in spring 2024 for a 12-month period.
Once installed, the prototype wave energy converter will provide vital operational data while testing the newest corrosion and anti-fouling technologies which will progress the understanding of the robustness of wave energy devices in situ.
The Edinburgh team will design, build and test a magnetic gear in partnership with Mocean Energy to demonstrate upscaling of electrical power take-off (PTO) systems.
The project will also show how marinization and magnetic gearing technology can be scaled up to larger power levels and integrated more fully into wave energy converters.
Nick Baker, reader in emerging electrical machines and senior lecturer at Newcastle University, said: “With regards to achieving the ambitious goal of net zero by 2050, it is essential to look at the energy system as a whole. Wave energy originates from solar energy as the sun heats the land, the land heats the air to create wind and wind creates waves.
“Wave energy can therefore be considered as ‘energy dense’ and could be a significant factor in moving away from traditional energy sources.
“The upscaling aim of the MU-EDRIVE project will help to reduce costs of energy production as devices get larger, making the energy both easier and more affordable for access and usage. It’s hard to know what a wave energy device will look like in 10 years’ time. Thinking back to 10 years ago, offshore wind turbine technologies were in their infancy – this could be the same for wave energy now.”
In addition to Nick Baker, MU-EDRIVE represents a collaboration between Serkan Turkman and Jeff Neasham at Newcastle University and Markus Mueller from the University of Edinburgh. It follows the successful collaboration between Edinburgh and Newcastle on the MEC-EDRIVE project, funded by EPSRC as part of a previous wave energy funding call.
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