27th February 2013
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.