The projects, devised by individual companies and partnerships, will explore the potential of different materials and processes in the production of wave energy converters (WECs); devices that convert ocean waves into electricity.
Currently these devices are predominantly made from steel, which is strong and durable but costly and susceptible to corrosion.
Alternative materials have not yet been sufficiently investigated for their longevity in harsh marine conditions. Finding a material that works well in the sea and is cheaper to produce will increase commercial viability of converters.
The WES funded Structural Materials and Manufacturing Process (SMMP) projects will investigate the use of materials such as rubbers, plastics, concrete or combinations of these to build wave energy converters, and then test how well they survive in different sea conditions.
This latest announcement from WES brings the total investment by the organisation in wave energy development to £15 million across 51 projects in less than two years.
Minister for Business, Innovation and Energy, Paul Wheelhouse said: “Continued innovation is vital in emerging renewable technologies such as wave energy. This funding could result in longer lasting wave converters that are better able to harness the power of the sea and more efficiently turn it into renewable energy.
“Wave energy has great potential to contribute to Scotland’s energy supply and that of the UK and EU and I am aware of the strong interest in the technology in international markets beyond the EU too. If we are able to maximise the economic potential of this important energy resource, there are great opportunities to generate exports to the rest of the world where Scotland is, rightly seen as being at the forefront of the development of the sector.
“I would like to congratulate the successful applicants and look forward, alongside the team of Wave Energy Scotland to seeing the results of their ongoing work.”
Tim Hurst, managing director of Wave Energy Scotland, added: “We were delighted with the huge response to our call for SMMP projects, with many new organisations submitting applications. The successful projects present a superb opportunity to bring further skills and experience that can be shared with others in the WES programmes and make further progress towards commercialising the wave energy sector.”
Wave Energy Scotland was set up as a subsidiary of Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) in December 2014 and is fully funded by the Scottish Government. The organisation is seen as a fresh approach to tackling the issues which have proved challenging in the wave energy sector.
Descriptions of successful projects
Note: Projects are not listed in order of final score or ranking.
Lead Partner: CorPower Ocean AB
Description: The HydroComp project brings innovative material and manufacturing for wave energy devices structures using Balmoral’s long experience in structural design, materials and production for offshore environments, CorPower Ocean and WaveVenture expertise in numerical modelling, design load cases, system design and LCOE analysis. The combined efforts will assess the viability of hybrid Fibre Reinforced Polymer (FRP) prime movers for point absorber Wave Energy Converters (WEC). Benchmarking of target outcome metrics affordability, availability, survivability and performance will be provided, and the overall impact on Levellised-Cost-of-Energy reported.
Other Partners: Balmoral Offshore Engineering, Wave Venture
Contract amount: £248,600.00
Project: Reinforced Polymers for Wave EneRgy (RePOWER)
Lead Partner: Cruz Atcheson Consulting Engineers Lda
Description: The RePower consortium aims to assess the use of hybrid structures with reinforced polymers as the prime mover of point absorber wave energy converters (WESs).
The project brings together leading WEC developers, an independent engineering design team and materials & manufacturing experts, in an effort to conduct a definitive assessment of the technical and economic viability of using reinforced polymers as a key structural material in WEC design.
Other Partners: Carnegie Wave Energy, CorPower Ocean, Arup Consulting Engineers, DNV-GL, National Composites Centre
Contract amount: £249,614.00
Project: Advanced Rotational Moulding for Ocean Renewables (ARMOR)
Lead Partner: Haydale Composite Solutions Ltd
Description: This project’s unique selling point is that is both technology and solution agnostic bringing the widest range of solution to the most appropriate wave energy concepts. Initially the project shall undertake a screening exercise to identify the most appropriate concepts followed up by detailed designs and load modelling. This shall occur iteratively with the material selection review. The final material selection shall therefore be optimised to maximise LCOE. Manufacturing studies, cost modelling and risk evaluation shall finally be undertaken to ensure that the project meets its ambitions.
Other Partners: Crompton Moulding Ltd., WaveVenture Ltd.,Carbon Trust
Contract amount: £249,762.00
Project: Concrete as a Technology Enabler (CREATE)
Lead Partner: Ove Arup & Partners Ltd
Description: The CREATE project aims to confirm that the use of concrete technology can make a step change in LCoE in the wave energy sector.
Concrete is a well understood material with a range of applications in the offshore environment and a developed supply chain. Studies into the potential of concrete for WECs have so far focused on a single WEC technology and an industry wide conclusion does not yet exist. This project aims to take a broader approach to identify where structural concrete could have most impact, before developing a suitable design solution in detail.
Other Partners: Cruz Atcheson Consulting Engineers, MPA: The Concrete Centre, MPA: British Precast, SeaPower Ltd., Wello OY
Contract amount: £250,000.00
Project: Advanced Rotational Moulding for Wave Energy Technologies (ARMWET)
Lead Partner: Polygen Ltd
Description: This project targets the application of new technologies which overcome existing challenges with the implementation of the rotational moulding of polymer structures for wave energy converters (WECs). We focus on advanced engineering methods of spreading point loads throughout polyethylene structures, and on the use of internal bulkheads to allow for controlled ballasting. These solutions are aimed to propose realistic means of reducing the CAPEX and the long term OPEX of the structure, thereby reducing the overall LCoE.
Other Partners: Wave Venture Ltd., Rototek Ltd
Contract amount: £209,000.00
Project: Advanced Concrete Engineering – WEC (ACE-WEC)
Lead Partner: Quoceant Ltd
Description: Previous detailed design studies have shown that while conventional approaches to marine concrete structure design and manufacture do generally show a reduction in WEC cost compared to other materials, risks remain high and projected costs remain a long way above the potential low floor the material offers. The ACE–WEC project is designed to yield step reductions in the added manufacturing costs of concrete WEC structures, allowing them to quickly approach the low cost asymptotes offered by concrete as a primary material.
Other Partners: University of Dundee, Black and Veatch, Innosea, David Kerr
Contract amount: £245,231.00
Lead Partner: Technology From Ideas Ltd
Description: This study will assess the potential of using high performance thermoplastic elastomers as the outer shell of wave energy devices; using complex 3D surface features to enhance performance, dissipate loads and dramatically reduce LCOE. Polymer materials have the potential to reduce the LCOE of wave energy in a similar manner to how composite materials revolutionised the aircraft industry by replacing steel structures.
Other Partners: DuPont, Cruz Atcheson, Radius Systems
Contract amount: £244,500.00
Lead Partner: Tension Technology International Ltd
Description: The project focusses on two key areas on the path towards cost competitive wave energy – impermeable coated fabrics to provide compliant and thus load shedding/peak load resistant buoyant modules and fibre rope ‘load nets’ to encapsulate the buoyant modules, applying distributed restraint loads and agglomerating the distributed load back to a single structural point to connect to the WEC PTO.
Other Partners: Black and Veatch Ltd, Optimus (Aberdeen) Ltd, Quoceant Ltd
Contract amount: £245,300.00
Project: A feasibility study on Elastomeric-based WECs (ELASTO)
Lead Partner: University of Edinburgh
Description: Elastomers are lightweight and have excellent fatigue properties. We will perform a study to understand the performance loads on two devices: one with elastomeric parts and a rigid counterpart device for comparison. We aim to show that the use of elastomers in wave energy, allows improved survivability and reduced cost without compromising performance.
Other Partners: University of Plymouth, Griffon Hoverwork
Contract amount: £244,714.00
Project: Rotational Moulding of Polymers, Composites and Hybrid WEC Structures (RotoHybrid)
Lead Partner: University of Edinburgh
Description: The RotoHybrid project will develop rotational moulding of polymers for the design of novel hybrid wave energy converters. Large floating structures can be efficiently rotomoulded but they need local metal structure and fibre reinforcement for performance and load transfer. Prime mover CAPEX reductions of 50%-60% are targeted in the project, with further OPEX reductions due to lower maintenance and improved corrosion resistance in the ocean.
Other Partners: Queen’s University Belfast, Pelagic Innovation, CETO UK, ÉireComposites, Kingspan Environmental
Contract amount: £250,000.00