Posts Tagged ‘WaveRoller’

NAO NAKANISHI, Reuters, October 5, 2009

PelamisWaveFarm_PelamisWavePowerA first attempt fell victim to the crisis: now in the docks of Scotland’s ancient capital, a second-generation scarlet Sea Snake is being prepared to harness the waves of Britain’s northern islands to generate electricity.

Dwarfed by 180 metres of tubing, scores of engineers clamber over the device, which is designed to dip and ride the swelling sea with each move being converted into power to be channelled through subsea cables.

Due to be installed next spring at the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) in Orkney, northern Scotland, the wave power generator was ordered by German power company E.ON, reflecting serious interest in an emerging technology which is much more expensive than offshore wind.

Interest from the utility companies is driven by regulatory requirements to cut carbon emissions from electricity generation, and it helps in a capital-intensive sector.

Venture capitalists interested in clean tech projects typically have shorter horizons for required returns than the 10-20 years such projects can take, so the utilities’ deeper pockets and solid capital base are useful.

“Our view … is this is a 2020 market place,” said Amaan Lafayette, E.ON’s marine development manager. “We would like to see a small-scale plant of our own in water in 2015-2017, built on what we are doing here. It’s a kind of generation we haven’t done before.”

The World Energy Council has estimated the market potential for wave energy at more than 2,000 terawatt hours a year — or about 10% of world electricity consumption — representing capital expenditure of more than 500 billion pounds ($790 billion).

Island nation Britain has a leading role in developing the technology for marine power, which government advisor the Carbon Trust says could in future account for 20% of the country’s electricity. The government is stepping up support as part of a 405 million pound investment in renewable energy to help its ambition of cutting carbon emissions by 80% by 2050 from 1990 levels, while securing energy supply. (The challenge is more about getting to a place where we are comparable with other renewable technologies… We want to get somewhere around offshore wind,” said Lafayette.)

Britain’s Crown Estate, which owns the seabed within 12 nautical miles of the coast, is also holding a competition for a commercial marine energy project in Pentland Firth in northern Scotland.

Besides wave power, Britain is testing systems to extract the energy from tides: private company Marine Current Turbines Ltd (MCT) last year opened the world’s first large-scale tidal turbine SeaGen in Northern Ireland.


wave_power_pelamis“We are often compared to the wind industry 20 years ago,” said Andrew Scott, project development manager at Pelamis Wave Power Ltd, which is developing the Sea Snake system, known as P2. Standing beside the train-sized serpent, Pelamis’ Scott said wave power projects are taking a variety of forms, which he said was similar to the development of the wind turbine. “You had vertical axis, horizontal axis and every kind of shapes before the industry consolidated on what you know as acceptable average modern day turbines.”

The Edinburgh Snake follows a pioneering commercial wave power project the company set up in Portugal last September, out of action since the collapse of Australian-based infrastructure group Babcock & Brown which held a majority share. “It’s easy to develop your prototypes and models in the lab, but as soon as you put them in water, it swallows capital,” said John Liljelund, CEO of Finnish wave energy firm AW-Energy, which just received $4.4 million from the European Union to develop its WaveRoller concept in Portugal.

At present, industry executives say marine power costs about double that from offshore wind farms, which require investment of around 2-3 million euros per megawatt. Solar panels cost about 3-4 million per megawatt, and solar thermal mirror power about 5 million.


Other utility companies involved in wave power trials include Spain’s Iberdrola, which has a small experimental wave farm using floating buoys called “Power Take- offs” off the coast of northern Spain. It is examining sites for a subsea tidal turbine project made by Norwegian company Hammerfest Strom.

Countries developing the technology besides Britain include Portugal, Ireland, Spain, South Korea and the United States: about 100 companies are vying for a share of the market, but only a handful have tested their work in the ocean.

Privately owned Pelamis has focussed on wave energy since 1998, has its own full-scale factory in Leith dock and sees more orders for the second generation in prospect.

Lafayette said E.ON examined more than 100 devices since 2001 before picking Sea Snake for its first ocean project, a three-year test: “They have a demonstrable track record … and commercial focus and business focus.”

A single Sea Snake has capacity of 750 kilowatts: by around 2015, Pelamis hopes each unit will have capacity of 20 megawatts, or enough to power about 30,000 homes.

Neither Pelamis nor E.ON would elaborate on the cost of the Sea Snake, but they said the goal is to bring it down to the level of offshore wind farms.


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MendoCoastCurrent, October 2, 2009

wave-ocean-blue-sea-water-white-foam-photoAW-Energy, a Finnish renewable energy company developer of WaveRoller, a patented wave energy technology, has signed a $4.4M (3 million euros) contract with the European Union to demonstrate its technology.

The contract between AW-Energy and the EU is the first one under the “CALL FP7 – Demonstration of the innovative full size systems.” Several leading wave energy companies competed in the CALL. The contract includes a 3 million euro or $4.4M US grant agreement, providing financial backing for the demonstration project.

The project goal is to manufacture and deploy the first grid-connected WaveRoller unit in Portuguese waters. The exact installation site is located near the town of Peniche, which is famous for its strong waves and known as “Capital of the waves.” The nominal capacity of the WaveRoller is 300 kW and the project will be testing for one year.

The ‘Dream Team’ consortium is led by AW-Energy and includes companies from Finland, Portugal, Germany and Belgium. Large industrial participants include Bosch-Rexroth and ABB, together with renewable energy operator Eneolica and wave energy specialist Wave Energy Center, supporting with their experience to ensure successful implementation of the project.

“The experience of our dream team consortium is a significant asset to the project, and we are thrilled about this real pan-European co-operation. AW-Energy has been working hard the last three years with two sea installed prototypes, tank testing and CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics) simulations. Now we have the site, grid connection permission, installation license and the technology ready for the demonstration phase,” says John Liljelund, CEO at AW-Energy.

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MICHAEL KANELLOS, CNet News, April 24, 2008

MENLO PARK, Calif.–Back and forth, back and forth. That’s the idea behind WaveRoller.

image009The company, based in Espoo, Finland, says it has devised a way to generate electricity from waves without buoys or other floating devices, the mainstay of other wave power companies.


Instead, the company wants to plant oscillating fiberglass/steel plates on the sea bed. Waves rolling in push over the plates, which rebound after the wave passes to only be knocked down by another wave. The back-and-forth motion of the plates drives a piston and creates hydraulic pressure. The pressure ultimately gets fed to a turbine to generate electricity.

By being completely submerged, WaveRoller’s device could help quell some of the NIMBY-ism that comes with building in coastal areas, CEO Tuomo Hyysalo said in an interview during a break at the Nordic Green conference here earlier this week. It also makes the device less prone to being an obstacle for boats. Ideally, the 4-meter-high plates will be anchored in water 10 meters to 12 meters deep.

Some wave power devices–such as the buoys being developed by WaveBob and Finavera Renewables–are fairly unobtrusive. They sit far offshore and can be lit so boats can navigate around them. Others, however, are quite large. The Pelamis from Pelamis Wave Power, for example, is a 120-meter segmented device that looks like a giant orange sea snake. Others, like the Limpet, are large cement structures anchored to the shore.

WaveRoller installed a second prototype off the coast of Peniche, Portugal, earlier this year and this summer will begin to collect data on how well the plates perform. If all goes well, the company hopes to start producing systems commercially and helping power providers build multi-megawatt power plants in five to seven years or so. (Other wave companies are similarly aiming at producing power with commercial-size devices in the 2010 to 2015 time frame.)

“The mayor of Peniche is a surfer and he loves it,” said Hyysalo, adding that surfers are often some of the biggest opponents. They fear that wave power devices will sap the strength of waves.

The plate in the latest prototype measures 4×4 meters and can generate 10 kilowatts to 13 kilowatts of power. Commercial units will likely consist of three plates lined up near each other and produce around 45 kilowatts, he said. Thus, you’d need about 22 three-plate devices for a megawatt. A single WaveBob can produce more than a megawatt of power.

Wave power, at least according to its advocates, could become a staple in renewable energy over the next two decades. Waves are far more predictable than wind and solar conditions. Satellites can track wave trains out at sea and give utilities and power providers advance estimates of how much power they can hope to generate from the sea. Water is 800 times denser than air; thus, a few devices planted in a relatively small area can generate as much power as a large wind farm.

Ireland, Scotland, Hawaii, California, Oregon, and some South Pacific nations are already, or are preparing, wave energy tests.

But there is the catch. Wave power devices have to sit in some of the harshest environments on the planet and function fairly flawlessly to be economical. Right now, virtually all wave power systems are prototypes.

Being completely submerged could potentially become an advantage in this department. Historically, marine engineers have built structures so that they sit above the wave line, like oil derricks, or beneath it. Building devices that are supposed to live on the surface of waves “goes against every instinct of mankind,” joked James Ryan, who manages strategic planning and development services for wave power at Ireland’s Marine Institute, in a recent interview.

Still, maintenance and repairs are going to be one of the big challenges for WaveRoller, Hyysalo acknowledged. Could these plates break loose or get frozen in place? Sure.

So how does WaveRoller get its plates down there? The construction area is isolated from the rest of the sea and then drained.

“It is like building a bridge,” Hyysalo said.</span

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