Reliability of wave & tidal energy devices set for upswing

The second phase of the RiaSoR project, designed to improve the reliability of wave and tidal energy converters through collaborative international research, has officially started.

The second phase of the Reliability in a Sea of Risk (RiaSoR) project will aim to enable developers to validate their findings and establish a practical, condition-based monitoring platform to prepare for future arrays, where big data handling and processing will be vital to drive down operational expenditure.

Building on the success of RiaSoR’s first phase, which developed a theoretical reliability assessment guideline for wave and tidal energy converters, the project aims to encourage increased investment in the marine energy industry by both the public and private sector through the reduction of associated risks and reliability enhancement.

Funded through the OceanERANET initiative and led by the Research Institute of Sweden (RISE), RiaSoR2 brings together the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC), the Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult, Alkit Communications, Synective Labs, CorPower Ocean, Waves4Power, Cruz Atcheson and Ocean Harvesting.

The research consortium will offer a comprehensive suite of testing methodologies to wave and tidal developers that will enable a systematic approach to achieve optimal reliability and performance, while minimizing cost and time-to-market, according to EMEC.

Elaine Buck, EMEC’s Technical Manager, said: “Reliability testing is tough to do in the sea. RiaSoR 2 is about establishing a methodology and testing program so we can gather data between device installation through to MTTF (mean time to failure).

“The instrumentation, condition monitoring methodology applied with Variation Mode and Effect Analysis (VMEA) methodology used in other more mature sectors such as the automotive and aerospace industry will be adapted in the RiaSoR project for the ocean energy sector and will provide valuable insight into prototype design development.”

The RiaSoR 1 reliability guideline built upon established practices from the automotive industry where a monitoring framework is applied to a fleet of test-vehicles. Through design iterations, the reliability is improved, and a final reduced set of sensors are deployed in a commercial vehicle, according to EMEC.

Johannes Hüffmeier from RISE said: “The project will be making a report on condition-based monitoring and sensing techniques for ocean energy devices available shortly.”

For RiaSoR 2, components for monitoring will be equipped with several sensors to collect required data, which will then be fed into the reliability process to reduce uncertainties. Sea tests will act as case studies to feed the methodologies and training into the guideline, EMEC said.

The findings will then be disseminated to other wave energy and tidal energy converter developers, and to the wider industry.