WES awards wave power ‘horizon scanning’ contracts

Wave Energy Scotland (WES) has hired a multinational professional services firm Arup, and engineering consultancy Frazer-Nash, to find the best opportunities for wave energy innovation and cost reduction.

The two contracts, with a shared value of £155,000, involve ‘horizon scanning’ to understand opportunities in very large-scale wave energy converters, and alternative generation techniques.

Arup has been contracted by WES to identify and analyze opportunities for development of very large-scale wave energy converters. Very large-scale is considered to be a generation capacity of more than 10MW, according to Arup-

“Offshore wind has achieved a great deal of cost reduction through incremental scale-up of turbines in their generation capacity, however it is believed that technical constraints or cost benefit balance will eventually limit turbine sizes.

“Wave energy may be able to make similar strides in competitiveness through scale-up of individual device size and/or generation capacities and may not be constrained until even greater scale is achieved than offshore wind,” WES said on Scottish government’s procurement portal.

The challenge to identify and analyze opportunities for improved competitiveness through application of alternative generation technologies to the wave energy sector has been entrusted to Frazer-Nash Consultancy.

Technologies of interest could be those which provide direct conversion of kinetic or potential energy to electrical energy, such as but not limited to electro active materials, reducing the number of energy conversion steps and removing significant sub-system capital costs, according to WES.

“The focus of this project should be on the alternative generation technologies and their ability to convert the appropriate kinetic/potential energy of ocean waves into electrical energy, rather than their ability to conform with existing wave energy converter architectures,” WES said.

The appointed project teams will likely be looking to other sectors and to the specific characteristics of wave energy generation to find the best opportunities for innovation and cost reduction, WES noted.

Jacob Ahlqvist, Project Manager at Arup, said: “This is an exciting study to push the boundaries of wave energy development. Our role in this study will be to quantify the opportunities and inform future innovation for both Wave Energy Scotland and the wider industry.”

David Langston, Program Manager at Wave Energy Scotland, added: “This study will inform the debate of whether development at very large scale is desirable or necessary to achieve commercially viable energy generation.”

WES was set up in 2014 as a subsidiary of Highlands and Islands Enterprise to accelerate the development of wave energy sector in Scotland. It is fully funded by the Scottish government.