Trelleborg delivers rubber membrane for WETFEET waves

Trelleborg has supplied a bespoke flexible rubber membrane for use with wave energy devices to WETFEET research and development project.

The €3.46 million project, designed to foster the exploitation of ocean wave energy, has seen the development of a set of breakthrough technology solutions integrated into two wave energy converters – a floating oscillating water column, and Symphony – a variable-volume submerged point-absorber.

Funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 program, the WETFEET project has brought together 12 partners spanning six EU countries with the aim to address a number of the major constraints that have delayed the sector’s progress to date and develop innovative technology solutions for use in wave energy devices.

Jacco Vonk, Marketing and Business Development Manager for Trelleborg’s engineered products operation, said: “Using our experience and insights in supplying high performance polymer solutions to the offshore wind energy sector, we have developed a bespoke flexible rubber membrane for Symphony to drive forward innovation in the wave power category.

“Our polymer membrane technology ensures that the membrane not only acts as seal to protect internal components from external water pressure, but as a bearing to prevent the hull and compensation tank from colliding. Both of which ensure a best-in-class submerged pressure differential device in a smaller geometry, helping to reduce concerns around the cost of Symphony’s development.”

José Cândido, Head of Economy & Industry at WavEC Offshore Renewables, the company leading the project, added: “Wave energy has enormous potential to fulfill part of the global demand for a clean, safe and sustainable energy source and as a result, contribute to the creation of jobs across not only the EU but worldwide.

“In recent years however, wave energy research has revealed a number of challenges such as the reliability of technical components, high development costs and risks, as well as industrial scalability of proposed and tested technologies.

“WETFEET was set up to address these issues and pull together a team focused on developing viable components, systems and processes to help fulfill wave energy’s potential.”

Trelleborg is a global engineering group focused on polymer technology, headquartered in Sweden.

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