Photo: Wavepiston test string being deployed at PLOCAN (Courtesy of Michael Henriksen/Wavepiston)

Ocean energy gets €5 million EU boost for hybrid testing platform

European Union’s Horizon 2020 program has awarded €5 million to VALID project for the development of a Hybrid Testing Platform that will accelerate the testing of marine energy devices in Europe’s race towards carbon neutrality.

Wavepiston test string being deployed at PLOCAN (Courtesy of Michael Henriksen/Wavepiston)
Wavepiston test string being deployed at PLOCAN (Courtesy of Michael Henriksen/Wavepiston)

A 3-year VALID project, which kicked off in December 2020, is specifically designed to develop a Hybrid Testing Platform for accelerated testing with methodologies by combining the virtual and physical environment, reducing cost in the product developing process, tackling scaling challenges and lowering uncertainties once fully demonstrated in the ocean.

VALID will use and adapt novel hybrid testing methodologies frequently used in the automotive industry through three different case studies that are specific to the ocean energy sector, according to the project partners.

This is expected to transform the fundamental approach to accelerated testing and establish the correlation between the ocean and the lab conditions, allowing for common testing procedures and convergence in technology across Europe.

Current testing procedures in the wave energy sector are not well-balanced as most laboratory testing has been focused solely on functionality (proof of concept and performance assessment), disregarding other key performance measures such as reliability and survivability.

VALID aims to integrate both reliability and survivability testing methods together with relevant data on component failures (from ongoing and recently completed projects) early in the design and testing process.

The project will draw on expertise from leading research companies (Fundación Tecnalia Research & Innovation, RISE Research Institutes of Sweden, Biscay Marine Energy Platform), academic institutions (Aalborg University, and Technical University of Delft), as well as industrial experts across Europe (Corpower Ocean; Rina Consulting; Idom Consulting, Engineering, Architecture; AVL LIST; Yavin Four Consultants; Wavepiston; Aquatera Sustainability Ireland; and consulting engineer Julia F. Chozas.)

Pierre Ingmarsson, Senior Project Manager at RISE, said: “This ambitious project will provide a step change in testing and standardisation of ocean energy devices and components. It provides an open platform for hybrid and accelerated testing that will ensure the reliability, availability, maintainability and survivability during the lifetime of the technology ensuring cost efficient solutions”.

Micael Henriksen, CEO at Wavepiston, added: “At Wavepiston we are thrilled to be part of this project, which will produce a first-of-its-kind practical implementation of the novel VALID testing methodology. With the use of the hybrid platform and approach for testing, we expect our system to benefit from the accelerated testing of the seals and glider rings on our submerged hydraulic pumps, which is a critical subsystem common to many wave energy devices.

“With this accelerated testing, we can ensure better and faster input to design updates and preventive maintenance procedures, leading to a more durable system”.