Arup to test alternative wave energy device materials


International think tank Arup has been selected by Wave Energy Scotland to perform two studies identifying alternative material choices for wave energy conversion devices.

The first study is an engineering design assessment that will be performed to “better understand the potential for concrete to become the main structural material” for wave energy devices. The goal is to confirm concrete’s potential in decreasing the levelized cost of electricity associated with wave energy.

Participating alongside Arup in its concrete research are British Precast, Cruz Atcheson, Sea Power and Wello.

“We are focused on finding a step change solution for wave energy conversion devizes to help wave power reach its potential both off the coast of Scotland and worldwide,” Arup project manager Jacob Ahlqvist said. “In our work with Wave Energy Scotland, we will be drawing on decades of experience designing offshore structures and working with a range of materials in harsh environments.”

The second study will be conducted with Cruz Atcheon and is intended to assess the use of reinforced polymers as main structural materials. Arup said it will provide structural analysis and support services.

“Wave Energy Scotland is pleased that the program will benefit from Arup’s considerable wealth of knowledge about structural materials and manufacturing processes,” WES managing director Tim Hurst said. “I am looking forward to hearing the conclusions from these studies and the materials’ applicability to wave energy converters.”

WES was established as part of Highlands and Islands Enterprise initiative at the request of the Scottish government in December 2014. HIE is the Scottish government’s economic and community development agency for the north and west of Scotland.

WES said currently, wave energy conversion devices are predominantly made from steel, which is strong and durable, but costly and susceptible to corrosion.

The organization announced funding in January to investigate the use of materials such as rubber, plastic, concrete or combinations of these to build WECs, and then test how well the devices survive in varied sea conditions. 

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Michael Harris formerly was Editor for

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