Wave Energy Scotland announces it will invest US$3.7 million in 10 wave energy projects

Wave Energy Scotland (WES) will provide £3 million (US$3.7 million) for wave energy convertor (WEC) structural materials and manufacturing process projects, according to a Jan. 10 press release.

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

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

The organization reports the projects will 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.

The funded-projects include the following:

1. HydroComp

Contract amount: £248,600 (US$303,515)

  • Lead Partner: CorPower Ocean AB
  • Description: The HydroComp project brings innovative material and manufacturing for wave energy devices structures using Balmoral’s long experience in structural design, materials and production for offshore environments, CorPower Ocean and WaveVenture expertise in numerical modelling, design load cases, system design and levelized-cost-of-energy (LCoE) analysis. The combined efforts will assess the viability of hybrid Fibre Reinforced Polymer prime movers for point absorber WECs. Benchmarking of target outcome metrics affordability, availability, survivability and performance will be provided, and the overall impact on LCoE reported
  • Other Partners: Balmoral Offshore Engineering and Wave Venture

2. Reinforced Polymers for Wave EneRgy (RePOWER)

Contract amount: £249,614 (US$304,753)

  • Lead Partner: Cruz Atcheson Consulting Engineers Lda 
  • Description: The RePower consortium aims to assess the use of hybrid structures with reinforced polymers as the prime mover of point absorber wave energy converters.The project brings together leading WEC developers, an independent engineering design team and materials & manufacturing experts, in an effort to conduct a definitive assessment of the technical and economic viability of using reinforced polymers as a key structural material in WEC design.
  • Other Partners: Carnegie Wave Energy, CorPower Ocean, Arup Consulting Engineers, DNV-GL and National Composites Center

3. Advanced Rotational Molding for Ocean Renewables

Contract amount: £249,762 (US$304,859)

  • Lead Partner: Haydale Composite Solutions Ltd.
  • Description: This project’s unique selling point is that is both technology and solution agnostic bringing the widest range of solution to the most appropriate wave energy concepts. Initially the project shall undertake a screening exercise to identify the most appropriate concepts followed up by detailed designs and load modelling. This shall occur iteratively with the material selection review. The final material selection shall therefore be optimized to maximize LCoE. Manufacturing studies, cost modelling and risk evaluation shall finally be undertaken to ensure that the project meets its ambitions.
  • Other Partners: Crompton Molding Ltd., WaveVenture Ltd. and Carbon Trust

4. Concrete as a Technology Enabler (CREATE)

Contract amount: £250,000 (US$305,245)

  • Lead Partner: Ove Arup & Partners Ltd.
  • Description: The CREATE project aims to confirm that the use of concrete technology can make a step change in LCoE in the wave energy sector.
  • Concrete is a well understood material with a range of applications in the offshore environment and a developed supply chain. Studies into the potential of concrete for WECs have so far focused on a single WEC technology and an industry wide conclusion does not yet exist. This project aims to take a broader approach to identify where structural concrete could have most impact, before developing a suitable design solution in detail.
  • Other Partners: Cruz Atcheson Consulting Engineers; MPA: The Concrete Centre; MPA: British Precast; SeaPower Ltd.; and Wello OY

5. Advanced Rotational Molding for Wave Energy Technologies (ARMWET)

Contract amount: £209,000 (US$255,126)

  • Lead Partner: Polygen Ltd.
  • Description: This project targets the application of new technologies which overcome existing challenges with the implementation of the rotational molding of polymer structures for WECs. We focus on advanced engineering methods of spreading point loads throughout polyethylene structures, and on the use of internal bulkheads to allow for controlled ballasting. These solutions are aimed to propose realistic means of reducing the CAPEX and the long term OPEX of the structure, thereby reducing the overall LCoE.
  • Other Partners: Wave Venture Ltd. and Rototek Ltd.

6. Advanced Concrete Engineering — WEC (ACE-WEC)

Contract amount: £245,231 (US$299,279)

  • Lead Partner: Quoceant Ltd.
  • Description: Previous detailed design studies have shown that while conventional approaches to marine concrete structure design and manufacture do generally show a reduction in WEC cost compared to other materials, risks remain high and projected costs remain a long way above the potential low floor the material offers. The ACE—WEC project is designed to yield step reductions in the added manufacturing costs of concrete WEC structures, allowing them to quickly approach the low cost asymptotes offered by concrete as a primary material.
  • Other Partners: University of Dundee, Black and Veatch, Innosea, David Kerr

7. Polyshell

Contract amount: £245,231 (US$299,353)

  • Lead Partner: Technology From Ideas Ltd.
  • Description: This study will assess the potential of using high performance thermoplastic elastomers as the outer shell of wave energy devices; using complex 3-D surface features to enhance performance, dissipate loads and dramatically reduce LCoE. Polymer materials have the potential to reduce the LCoE of wave energy in a similar manner to how composite materials revolutionized the aircraft industry by replacing steel structures.
  • Other Partners: DuPont, Cruz Atcheson and Radius Systems

8. NetBuoy

Contract amount: £245,300 (US$299,437)

  • Lead Partner: Tension Technology International Ltd.
  • Description: The project focusses on two key areas on the path towards cost competitive wave energy — impermeable coated fabrics to provide compliant and thus load shedding/peak load resistant buoyant modules and fiber rope load nets to encapsulate the buoyant modules, applying distributed restraint loads and agglomerating the distributed load back to a single structural point to connect to the WEC PTO.
  • Other Partners: Black and Veatch Ltd., Optimus (Aberdeen) Ltd. and Quoceant Ltd.

9. A feasibility study on Elastomeric-based WECs (ELASTO)

Contract amount: £244,714 (US$298,706)

  • Lead Partner: University of Edinburgh
  • Description: Elastomers are lightweight and have excellent fatigue properties. We will perform a study to understand the performance loads on two devices: one with elastomeric parts and a rigid counterpart device for comparison. We aim to show that the use of elastomers in wave energy, allows improved survivability and reduced cost without compromising performance.
  • Other Partners: University of Plymouth, Griffon Hoverwork

10. Rotational Molding of Polymers, Composites and Hybrid WEC Structures (RotoHybrid)

Contract amount: £250,000 (US$305,050)

  • Lead Partner: University of Edinburgh
  • Description: The RotoHybrid project will develop rotational molding of polymers for the design of novel hybrid wave energy converters.  Large floating structures can be efficiently rotomolded but they need local metal structure and fiber reinforcement for performance and load transfer. Prime mover CAPEX reductions of 50%-60% are targeted in the project, with further OPEX reductions due to lower maintenance and improved corrosion resistance in the ocean.
  • Other Partners: Queen’s University Belfast, Pelagic Innovation, CETO UK, EireComposites and Kingspan Environmental

Alternative materials have not yet been sufficiently investigated for their longevity in harsh marine conditions, according to the organization.

According to the release, the latest announcement from WES brings the total investment by the organization in wave energy development to US$18.29 million across 51 projects in less than two years.

Minister for Business, Innovation and Energy, Paul Wheelhouse, in part said, “Continued innovation is vital in emerging renewable technologies such as wave energy. This funding could result in longer lasting wave converters that are better able to harness the power of the sea and more efficiently turn it into renewable energy.”

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Gregory B. Poindexter formerly was an associate editor for HydroWorld.com.

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