Wave generator gets major boost

The OWEL wave to compressed air energy converter has just been awarded £2.5million of support by the Technology Strategy Board.

This device is a free floating unit that comprises long, adjacent, horizontal ducts that are open to the waves at one end, narrowing towards a submerged exit at the other end. Waves flow into the inlets of the ducts, trapping a volume of air against the walls and ceiling of the duct and compressing it as it moves along the duct. The compressed air is then used to drive an air turbine and generator. The concept has been demonstrated by extensive tank testing and CFD modeling.

The award will enable ongoing development including the design, construction and testing of a large scale, 600tonne unit at the Wave Hub facility in Cornwall. In parallel with this at-sea testing activity, modeling will be used to optimise the design so as to minimise the cost of delivered energy. It will be developed by a consortium of organizations: OWEL, IT Power, Gifford UK, NaREC, NPL, DNV, A&P shipbuilders, Mojo Maritime and PRIMarE (University of Plymouth).

The device will remain on station for about a year in order to verify the consistency of power output and also sea keeping and survivability properties.

The grant is one of nine R&D projects that will receive £7m in total from the Government.

Author
Tom Shelley

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