The Waveswing device is now ready for testing.
A project to develop an underwater wave energy converter has taken another step forward after bringing its two main components together in one facility in Scotland.
What it called a “critical milestone” was held last week, according to a statement from AWS Ocean Energy on Wednesday. A “final connection” of the internal systems is now taking place and commissioning and dry testing of the 16 kilowatt device known as the Archimedes Waveswing is expected to occur in early July.
The plan is to deploy and test the technology later this year at the European Marine Energy Center in Orkney, an archipelago north of mainland Scotland. The location for these tests will be in the protected waters of Scapa Flow.
The Waveswing – which was described as a “submerged wave power buoy” – weighs 50 tons, has a diameter of 4 meters and is 7 meters high. The device, according to AWS Ocean Energy, “reacts to changes in underwater pressure caused by passing waves and converts the resulting movement into electricity via a direct-drive generator.”
Funding for the £ 3.4 million ($ 4.73 million) project comes from Wave Energy Scotland, which is itself funded by the Scottish Government.
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The AWS Ocean Energy device’s progress update comes the same month that another company, Mocean Energy, began testing its 20-meter-long, 38-ton Blue X wave machine. Mocean Energy’s tests are also taking place at EMEC’s Scapa Flow site.
In a statement released June 14th, Cameron McNatt, the company’s chief executive officer, said, “In the Scapa testing phase, we will test electricity production, compare the results with our numerical predictions, and operate operations including towing, installation, removal, and access at sea . “
“The device is self-contained and operates wirelessly,” he added. “A 4G connection allows us to send commands and download data from land.”
Since its inception in 2003, EMEC has become a hub for wave and tidal power development, helping put the UK at the center of the world’s emerging marine energy sector.
A variety of companies have performed on-site testing over the years. These include Scotland’s Orbital Marine Power, which is working on the world’s most powerful tidal turbine, and Spain-based Magallanes Renovables tidal power station.
In some circles, the potential of ocean energy may be excited, but its current footprint is tiny compared to other renewable technologies like sun and wind.
Recent figures from Ocean Energy Europe show that only 260 kW of tidal power capacity was added in Europe last year, while only 200 kW of wave power was installed.
In comparison, according to the industry association WindEurope, 14.7 gigawatts of wind energy capacity were installed in Europe in 2020.