Irish wave-energy company OceanEnergy is to co-ordinate a new €19.6million four-year partnership project aimed at kick-starting the commercialisation of large-scale wave energy.
Co-funded by the EU Horizon Europe Programme and Innovate UK, the UK’s innovation agency, WEDUSEA is a collaboration between 14 partners spanning industry and academia from across the UK, Ireland, France, Germany and Spain.
OceanEnergy has developed the OE35, the world’s largest capacity floating wave energy device (pictured above). Designed to float on the ocean surface, the device incorporates trapped air; its lower section is open to the sea. Wave pressure at the submerged opening causes the water to oscillate and drive the trapped air through a turbine to generate electricity. This energy can be exported to the grid or used in other offshore applications.
The WEDUSEA project will demonstrate a grid-connected 1MW OE35 floating wave energy converter at the European Marine Energy Centre Test Site in Orkney, Scotland.
The project has three phases. The first phase is the initial design of a device suited to European Marine Energy test site’s ocean conditions. This will be followed by the demonstration at the site, which will last two years. The final phase will be commercialisation and dissemination, which will involve the capitalisation and exploitation of the results.
OceanEnergy and other members of the consortium will actively exploit the results through new innovations, products and services. The results will also be disseminated to feed both environmental databases and IEC electrotechnical standards.
‘This rigorous technical and environmental demonstration will happen over a two-year period in Atlantic wave conditions,’ said Professor Tony Lewis, chief technical officer at OceanEnergy. ‘We believe this will be transformational for the wave-energy industry, with outcomes directly impacting policy, technical standards, public perception and investor confidence.
‘Wave energy is the world’s most valuable and persistent renewable resource,’ he continued. ‘However, it has yet to be fully realised. The project will demonstrate that wave technology is on a cost-reduction trajectory and will thus be a stepping stone to larger commercial-array scale-up and further industrialisation. We predict that the natural energy of the world’s oceans will one day supply much of the grid.’
‘We are expecting WEDUSEA to take wave energy beyond the state of the art by the collaboration of partners with a multi-disciplinary background and that it will contribute to the deployment of arrays of reliable wave-energy devices to achieve the 1GW target for 2030 as presented in our Offshore Renewable Energy Strategy,’ said Matthijs Soede of the European Commission. ‘The current energy crisis shows that the use of multiple energy sources is important to improve the security of supply and a breakthrough in ocean energy would be welcome.’
‘The innovative actions taken in this programme aim to improve the efficiency, reliability, scalability and sustainability of wave-energy technology, and reduce the levellised cost of electricity of the technology by more than 30 per cent,’ said Myles Heward, project manager at the European Marine Energy Centre. ‘This will help to de-risk investments in wave energy.’