Call to find industry solution to wave energy connection systems
Wave energy experts are looking to other industries to find an innovative solution to connect pioneering power converters to the electricity network.
Wave Energy Scotland (WES) is seeking concepts for "quick connection systems" suitable for use with a variety of wave energy converters.
It says the ideal technological solution would function in large wave conditions, connect quickly to reduce maintenance costs and increase safety by operating remotely.
Several power take-off devices have already been developed in the WES programme and are undergoing rigorous testing in real sea conditions. Construction of two novel wave energy converters – including one by an Inverness firm – is about to commence and both 50 per cent scale models will be tested in Orkney next summer.
The connection systems would be an integral element of the mooring system, the electrical system, or both for the wave energy devices.
WES believes that suitable systems can be used or adapted from other sectors such as automotive, offshore wind, mining, aerospace, defence, robotics, maritime and oil and gas, and will be holding an information webinar with a brokerage event in Glasgow on August 14 as part of the application process.
Paul Wheelhouse, Minister for Energy, Connectivity and the Islands, said: “This is an important step forward for Scotland’s world-leading wave energy sector. I am excited by the opportunity this call presents for new sectors to collaborate in Wave Energy Scotland’s programme and accelerate the commercial readiness of wave energy.
"Wave energy offers enormous economic potential for Scotland and as a technology which can help to tackle the global climate emergency. I look forward to hearing of Wave Energy Scotland’s further progress over the coming months.”
Quick connection systems are the next subcomponent to be developed by WES in its multimillion-pound wave energy technology programme. To date the body, funded by the Scottish Government, has invested £38.6 million in wave energy technology development, including previous calls for power take-off, novel wave energy converters, structural materials and manufacturing processes, and control systems.
Tim Hurst, WES managing director, said: “In our fifth call, we are very keen to engage developers and manufacturers from outwith the sector. We know there are industries which have specialised experience of employing these types of connection systems. WES needs to tap into that expertise and build working relationships with these companies, by bringing them into the programme to discover which designs are best suited to wave energy converter construction and installation."
Successful applicants to the quick connection system call will undertake a feasibility study on their proposed technical solution in stage one, followed by the design and analysis of this technical solution in stage two and then the build and test in stage three.
WES will offer up to £70,000 (excluding VAT) per project of up to three months' duration, with applicants free to contribute further funds if desired. Applications must be submitted by noon on September 16.