WavEC assists AW-Energy in anti-fouling protection efforts

WavEC Offshore Renewables has conducted biofouling tests at AW-Energy’s deployment site for its WaveRoller wave energy converter to gather data that will be used for selecting the best anti-fouling protection for the device.

The tests, set for completion later this month, are measuring the amount of marine growth attaching to the WaveRoller’s panel and its seals at a site off Peniche in Portugal.

Scaled down test panels demonstrating the surface of WaveRoller, along with the seal materials, were submerged at a test site to measure the amount and impact of biofouling.

The research has identified the main types of species colonizing the WaveRoller device, according to the Finnish wave energy developer AW-Energy.

Essi Paronen, AW-Energy’s Environmental Specialist, said: “The goal was to find out the number and weight of species attaching to the panel per square meter. The same tests were conducted with the device’s seals. This information can be used to choose the most appropriate anti-fouling protection and helps to plan the device’s maintenance operations.”

Information gathered with the biofouling tests is vital, as the panel functions might change if the object’s mass is increased significantly, AW-Energy said.

Also, the biofouling might pose problems when it comes to the maintenance of the device, as it could exceed the expected weight of the system.

The tests are being performed in connection to the University of the Highlands and Islands’ Marine Energy Research Innovation and Knowledge Accelerator (MERIKA) project, which includes the Portugal-based marine renewables research center WavEC as one of the partners.

AW-Energy’s 350kW WaveRoller device, equipped with parts supplied by Wärtsilä, is planned for installation later this year at the aforementioned deployment site.