The three-year Horizon 2020-funded WaveBoost project has resulted in “a step change improvement achieved to the reliability and performance of wave energy technology,” according to the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC).
Led by CorPower Ocean, the WaveBoost consortium designed and developed an advanced power take off (PTO) system allowing wave energy converters (WEC) to operate safer and more reliably in harsh ocean conditions while increasing annual electricity production by 27%.
The system incorporates a pneumatic module that has 80% fewer components, thus (compared to previous designs) reducing complexity and CAPEX while improving reliability. An energy redistribution system manages fluctuating power input from ocean waves to support grid integration and increase energy production.
New dynamic seals were designed and tested, resulting in 70% improvement in friction, while flow losses have been reduced by up to 90% compared to previous product.
The improvements enabled the levelized cost of energy (LCOE) to drop by 18% to 29%, with operational expenditure expected to decrease by up to 30%.
Lifecycle analysis undertaken on a theoretical 50-MW array deployed in Scotland indicated a carbon intensity as low as 31.4 g CO2e/kWh based on the first prototype WEC generation design. This carbon intensity is comparable with other renewable technologies today and is over 10 times less than conventional gas turbines, securing the pathway to low carbon intensity WEC technology, EMEC said.
The learnings from the WaveBoost project will be carried forward as CorPower Ocean moves towards the manufacturing, dry testing and deployment of its next full-scale C4 WEC.
“CorPower have a rigorous product verification strategy that follows a structured five-stage process, established as best practice for ocean energy technology by International Energy Agency-OES, ETIP Ocean and Wave Energy Scotland,” said Matt Dickson, WaveBoost project manager and technical project manager at CorPower Ocean. “The successful completion of the H2020 WaveBoost project marks a key milestone in our journey and unlocks our progress from Stage 3 into Stage 4 of our program as we scale our WEC technology to full scale.”
The WaveBoost project consortium is comprised of leaders from Sweden, Portugal and the UK, including CorPower Ocean, Arcos Hydraulik, the Research Institute of Sweden (RISE), EDP Innovação, WavEC Offshore Renewables, The University of Edinburgh, and EMEC.
The design behind CorPower Ocean’s WEC is inspired by the pumping principles of the human heart.