AWS Ocean Energy was providing an update on the current phase of sea trials of its Waveswing device at the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) in Orkney. In a key highlight of the scientific testing programme to date at the Scapa Flow test site, the wave energy converter captured average power over 10 kilowatts (kW) and peaks of 80kW, during a period of “moderate wave conditions”. These figures exceeded the developer’s own predictions by 20 per cent.
Other key findings are said to have underlined the “survivability potential” of the subsea device, which continued to deliver power in poor weather conditions. The testing programme also demonstrated that deployment of the Waveswing from sitting on the quayside to being installed and fully operational is possible in under 12 hours. The current phase of sea trials is scheduled to complete by the year end and the firm is looking to re-deploy for further testing early in the new year.
AWS Ocean Energy chief executive Simon Grey said: “These figures underline our strong belief that Waveswing is the real deal. While we have always been confident about the performance potential of the Waveswing, it is wonderful to see that confidence endorsed by real data. We believe this performance compares very favourably with equivalent figures for any previous wave device tested on the same site.
“We are now actively seeking discussions with commercialisation partners, other end users and anyone who is genuinely interested in developing commercial wave power. This includes, for example, sponsored testing programmes, so that partners can get to know the Waveswing and its potential up close.”
He added: “We expect to develop platforms hosting up to twenty 500 kW units with a potential capacity of 10 megawatts per platform.”
When installed, the 50-ton, seven-metre high, four-metre-diameter device is moored to an anchor on the seabed using a single tension tether and sits around three metres below the surface. The Waveswing generates energy by reacting to changes in pressure caused by passing waves. The device is designed to react to long ocean swell waves as well as short, wind-driven seas, for high energy capture.
The £3.4 million prototype development project has been funded by Wave Energy Scotland (WES), as part of the Novel Wave Energy Converter development programme. The demonstration at EMEC is also supported by the Interreg North-West Europe’s Ocean Demo project.
Tim Hurst, managing director of WES, said: “WES is excited to see real data coming from the sea trials for the Waveswing device, and the evidence coming forward that its design features are working successfully to deliver energy generation performance above and beyond expectations.”
EMEC managing director Neil Kermode said: “It has been great to see the Waveswing deploy, survive and operate at our test site this year. We are looking forward to analysing the data from these trials in the coming weeks as we complete a performance assessment and help the AWS team show exactly what they have achieved with this imaginative project.”