27 February 2013

ETI launches £1.4m project with Pelamis to boost wave energy sector

The Energy Technologies Institute (ETI) is looking to boost the cost-effectiveness of large-scale wave energy converter arrays in UK waters through a £1.4m project with Pelamis Wave Power.

The project will aim to accelerate the development of Pelamis Wave Power’s current design of offshore wave energy converters (WEC) that use the motion of waves to generate electricity.

The ETI commissioned and funded project will examine innovation across device  design, test a range of alternative materials other than steel, such as concrete, and explore the best possible layouts of arrays.  The results of this will inform the best routes and supply-chains to develop commercially viable wave energy technologies when deployed in multi-array wave energy farms. 

If this first phase of work is successful, a follow-on Phase 2 demonstration will also be led by Pelamis. This will build on innovations and technology identified in Phase 1 to push the design forward to commercial readiness. Both stages will aim to boost power output considerably whilst reducing the overall cost of energy.

Gregory Barker, Minister of State at the Department of Energy & Climate Change, said:

“The UK, with its world class natural resource and outstanding technical know-how is already leading the way on marine power for the rest of the world to follow, and I want to ensure we stay top of this table.

“Today’s launch of a £1.4million Pelamis Wave Power project commissioned and funded by the Energy Technologies Institute will enable even more marine devices to be tested out at sea, helping us take one vital step closer to realising our ambitions for this exciting sector.”

Simon Cheeseman, ETI Programme Manager for Marine said: “Wave energy represents a very significant resource around the UK coast and Wave Energy Convertors could play an important part in delivering sustainable, low-cost electricity to UK consumers in the future. Furthermore, the global technology export market has the potential for huge growth. However, feasibility of full-scale wave energy arrays is currently unclear and we need a better understanding of systems cost and performance to allow us to accelerate from today’s present individual devices to an array-scale and develop the market confidence to invest in meaningful UK deployment levels.”

“This project with a UK SME, supporting innovation, aims to help identify a route to cost effective installation and operation for wave energy technology in UK waters. Reducing costs to levels comparable to other low carbon systems is critical in accelerating the development and commercialisation of WEC device arrays.”

Richard Yemm, Pelamis Wave Power Commercial Director, adds: “The ETI commissioned and funded Phase 1 project will play a pivotal role in enabling the UK wave energy industry prove its potential to be a major contributor in the UK’s future energy mix.  The pedigree and track record of the Pelamis technology provides an excellent foundation for this comprehensive and informed study.

“The Pelamis team has been working with utility customers since 2005 to develop and prove the cornerstones of early commercial arrays. The ETI project will enable us to accelerate our technology and commercialisation programme to underpin investment in demonstration at commercial scale. The project will also define a clear and efficient route to cost convergence of the sector with other low carbon technologies. It will also give us the chance to look further ahead and will provide new and exciting insight into even more advanced Pelamis machines of the future.”

Phase one will see Pelamis further develop the existing Pelamis P2 device, two of which are currently on trial at the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) in Orkney, Scotland. The project will look at innovations in device size and shape, materials, mechanisms, array-design, deployment, operation and maintenance, and will identify the best options for meeting the cost of energy targets as set out in the ETI / UKERC 2010 Marine Energy Technology Roadmap. Pelamis will work closely with its customers, experts, consultants and other partners to explore a range of possible technologies to drive wave energy costs down to a level that is equivalent to other more mature low carbon technologies.

Notes to Editors

Photograph supplied – “Two Pelamis machines owned by E.ON and ScottishPower Renewables, generating electricity from the seas off the coast of Orkney last month.” Further photographs are also available on request through Pelamis.

For further information, please call Richard Robinson, Media Relations Manager, at the ETI on 01509 202026 or 07500 049626. Alternatively, call Deborah Smith at Pelamis Wave Power on 0131 561 2508 / Kyra Obolensky at Grayling on + 32 4 74 40 03 17

The Energy Technologies Institute (ETI) is a public-private partnership between global industries – BP, Caterpillar, EDF, E.ON, Rolls-Royce and Shell – and the UK Government.
Public sector representation is through the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, with funding channelled through the Technology Strategy Board and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council. The Department of Energy and Climate Change are observers on the Board.
The ETI is focused on accelerating the deployment of affordable, secure low-carbon energy systems for 2020 to 2050 by demonstrating technologies, developing knowledge, skills and supply-chains and informing the development of regulation, standards and policy.

Other ETI Marine projects include the £12.4m ReDAPT project, which has developed and installed a 1MW tidal generator, the £8m PerAWAT project which is producing tools capable of accurately estimating the energy yield of major wave and tidal stream energy converters, the £3.2m TEC project developing the concept design for a 20MW tidal stream array for UK waters, the £1.1m Wet-mate connector which produced a high-voltage connector to link offshore energy sources to cables more efficiently and the £450,000 Tidal Resource Modelling project which has produced a unique hydrodynamic model for evaluating energy extraction and interactions around the UK.

Pelamis Wave Power was established in 1998 and is widely recognised as the world’s most advanced wave energy developer. Pelamis machines absorb the energy of ocean waves and convert it into clean, green electricity. Following over 14 years of engineering, manufacturing and unrivalled operational experience, Pelamis launched its ‘second generation’ Pelamis machine, the ‘P2’, in spring 2010.

Two P2 machines are now being tested at the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) in Orkney, for utility customers E.ON and ScottishPower Renewables. Installed in October 2010 and May 2012 respectively, these represent the UK’s first and second orders for wave energy converters from utility customers. Both machines are currently undergoing a joint testing programme, the first such collaboration in the industry. 

Pelamis has a track record of achieving world firsts including:
• the world’s first export of electricity from an offshore wave energy converter into an onshore grid network in 2004
• delivering the world’s first multiple machine wave farm
• securing the UK’s first and only commercial orders for wave energy converters from customers E.ON and ScottishPower Renewables
• carrying out the industry’s first joint testing programme with utility customers


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