Inverness firm's pioneering wave power generator set to begin tests
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Inverness marine energy pioneer AWS Ocean Energy is set to begin testing of its 16kW Archimedes Waveswing wave energy converter in the next few weeks.
After joining together the two major sub-assemblies and the final hook-up of its internal systems, AWS expects to start commissioning and dry-testing the Waveswing early in July.
The 50 ton and seven metre high Waveswing will then move to the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) in Orkney later this year for marine tests.
AWS chief executive Simon Grey said: “It is brilliant to see the machine complete and you get a real feeling that it looks the business.
“Since coming a close third in the US Department of Energy Wave Energy prize, we have further optimised the Waveswing and achieved a three-fold increase in energy capture. As a result, we are confident that the Waveswing really is the best prospect for practical, affordable wave power. The whole team at AWS are looking forward to proving this for real during at-sea testing later this year”.
The £3.4 million project has been funded by Highlands and Islands Enterprise subsidiary Wave Energy Scotland (WES) as part of the Novel Wave Energy Converter development programme.
Once operational, the Waveswing is expected to produce produce continuous power of 16kW in moderate seas.
The device is moored subsea and reacts to changes in pressure caused by passing waves. It is moored on a single tension tether and is self-installing. The subsea location and ability to winch low in the water-column mean that extreme storm loadings are avoided and the device can continue to operate in rough sea conditions. Unlike other point-absorber concepts, the Waveswing reacts equally well to long ocean swell waves as to short, wind-driven seas, resulting in high energy capture per unit of submerged volume.
The design of the current generation of Waveswing has focussed on remote power applications such as driving sub-sea oilfield assets or use in oceanographic monitoring. Its low mooring footprint and practical design for maintenance recovery are key features which make Waveswing attractive to oil and gas operators.
Tim Hurst, managing director of WES, said: “It is fantastic to see the progress that AWS has made with the development of the Waveswing over the past four years and we have been delighted to support this through the Novel Wave Energy Converter programme. We are really looking forward to seeing the Waveswing in action later this year.”