The three-year Horizon 2020 funded WaveBoost project has drawn to a close with what its research team call "a step change improvement achieved to the reliability and performance of wave energy technology".
Led by CorPower Ocean, the WaveBoost consortium designed and developed an advanced power take off (PTO) system allowing wave energy converters (WECs) to operate safer and more reliably in harsh ocean conditions while increasing annual electricity production by 27%.
The system incorporates a revolutionary pneumatic module that has 80% less components, thereby reducing complexity and CAPEX while improving reliability, compared to previous designs.
An energy redistribution system manages fluctuating power input from ocean waves to support grid integration and increase energy production.
On the performance side, new dynamic seals were designed and tested resulting in 70% improvement in friction, while flow losses have been reduced by up to 90% compared to previous product.
The improvements enabled the levelised cost of energy to drop by 18-29% – with operational expenditure expected to decrease by up to 30%.
Lifecycle analysis undertaken on a theoretical 50 MW array deployed in Scotland indicated a carbon intensity already as low as 31.4 gCO2e/kWh based on the first prototype WEC generation design alone.
This carbon intensity is comparable with other renewable technologies today and is 10 times less than conventional gas turbines – securing the pathway to low carbon intensity WEC technology.
The learnings from the WaveBoost project will be carried forward as CorPower Ocean moves towards the manufacturing, dry testing and deployment of their next full scale C4 WEC.
The WaveBoost project consortium is comprised of sector leaders from Sweden, Portugal and the UK including CorPower Ocean (project lead), Arcos Hydraulik, the Research Institute of Sweden (RISE), EDP Innovação, WavEC Offshore Renewables, University of Edinburgh, and the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC).
“CorPower have a rigorous product verification strategy that follows a structured five-stage process, established as best practice for ocean energy technology by International Energy Agency-OES, ETIP Ocean and Wave Energy Scotland,” explains Matt Dickson, WaveBoost project manager and technical manager at CorPower Ocean.
“It involves step-wise validation of survivability, performance, reliability and economics starting with small scale prototypes in Stage 1, continued by sub-system testing and then fully integrated WEC in increasing scales up to array demonstration in Stage 5.
“The successful completion of the H2020 WaveBoost project marks a key milestone in our journey and unlocks our progress from Stage 3 into Stage 4 of our program as we scale our WEC technology to full scale.”
A summary of the achievements can be viewed at http://www.corpowerocean.com/commercial-projects/waveboost/