Wave Energy Scotland (WES) has just announced over £660K of funding for 13 new projects aiming to develop innovative control systems for wave energy converters.  This initiative brings together control systems specialists from mature sectors such as aerospace and oil and gas, to work with Scottish technology developers in addressing the challenges of controlling and integrating Wave Energy Converter (WEC) systems and their components. 

Control systems can enhance energy yield, reduce operating costs and increase survivability of wave energy devices, all contributing to a lower cost of energy.  This is the 4th innovation call from WES that sees the WES technology programme reaching full capacity, funding 48 projects, engaging 163 organisations from industry and academia, and investing £25.3M over the last 3 years.


Minister for Business, Innovation and Energy Paul Wheelhouse said:

“I am very pleased to announce this latest funding by Wave Energy Scotland for innovative control systems. I know that the call attracted applications of a very high calibre and from some of the world’s leading control systems companies.  I am especially proud to see the number of Scottish firms involved at lead contractor or subcontractor level and I am confident that some of these projects will play a part in improving the performance of the wave energy devices of the future.”


Tim Hurst, Managing Director for Wave Energy Scotland said:  “These thirteen proposals are very exciting. Once they are teamed with the different wave energy devices at later stages in the programme, we expect them to manage any of the conditions Scotland’s climate might throw at them. With today’s ocean measurement technologies and data processing advances, the control system should be able to monitor the waves and adjust the wave energy device’s movement to suit them.  In a storm, this might mean protecting the device by submerging the wave energy converter or changing the way it moves in big waves. In medium sized waves, the control system might adjust settings to extract as much power as possible. A good control system should be able to do this remotely and efficiently.  These new projects will take us further towards our quest of finding the winning designs for a cost-effective wave energy device.”


Wave Energy Scotland was set up in 2014 as a subsidiary of Highlands and Islands Enterprise and is fully funded by the Scottish Government. It takes a progressive and collaborative approach to tackling the issues which have proved challenging in the wave energy sector and is driving the development of wave energy technology in Scotland and beyond.


Details of each project – NOT in any order of priority.



Project description: The SURF-MATIC project targets development of a control system that is focused on device survival and achieving reduced loading and harshness in Wave Energy Conversion technology. Survival is one of the strongest cost drivers of the structure in a wave energy converter and the structural cost is a very significant overall proportion of the cost of energy produced. Wave Venture along with Altran will gather evidence showing that this approach is valuable and can be achieved for a range of wave energy conversion technologies. Evidence will be produced to show that the proposed system can be delivered in a practical industrial control system that will achieve the ultra-high availability required for safety critical systems at the low cost required in renewable energy. CorPower Ocean and Mocean Energy will contribute their expert knowledge as technology developers to advise on how best to apply the proposed control technology to their products.

Project partners:                                              Mocean Energy Ltd, Altran UK Ltd, CorPower Ocean AB, Wave Venture Ltd

Project cost (excl. VAT):                                               £46,860


  1. Predictability Bounded Control of the Mocean WEC

Project description: The project investigates the feasibility of applying an adaptive control methodology to the Mocean WEC. The control uses predictability analysis to maximise bandwidth within irregular seas. The controller performance is not adversely affected by poor sea state estimation and is inherently robust to modelling uncertainty and fault conditions.

Project partners:                                              Mocean Energy Ltd, University of Bath

Project cost (excl. VAT):                                               £34,434




Project description: Wave Energy Enhancement Through Innovative Control System” is a multilayer  control architecture aiming at evaluating the best control action according to both internal and external criteria. The 1st stage of the project evaluates the requirements and needs in order to ensure proper definition of the 3 layers. It will analyse the applicability of this methodology for different WECs and PTOs and a case study will be proposed for a spar-type OWC.

Project partners:                                              University of Edinburgh, Oceantec Energias Marinas SL,

Tecnalia Research & Innovation

Project cost (excl. VAT):                                               £45,000





  1. Adaptive Control of the WaveSub WEC using a Romax electromechanical PTO

Project description: The project investigates the feasibility of applying an adaptive control methodology to the WaveSub WEC in conjunction with the Romax electro-mechanical PTO system. The two systems are well suited to provide an efficient and cost-effective solution. The control methodology maximises power capture within physical limits of the system and is inherently robust to modelling uncertainty and fault conditions.

Project partners:                                              Marine Power Systems Ltd, University of Bath,

Romax Technology Ltd

Project cost (excl. VAT):                                               £41,850



  1. DataWave

Project description: The adoption of a WEC Open Data Architecture (ODA) to facilitate the development of common, reusable data analytics tools to provide functions such as Diagnostic Processes, Alarm Systems, Decision Support and Operator Situation Awareness tools.

Project partners:                                              Mocean Energy Ltd, Wave Venture Ltd CorPower Ocean AB, Polygen Ltd, MarynSol Ltd

Project cost (excl. VAT):                                               £46,200



  1. WEQUAD FRAME project

Project description: Wave Energy converters linear QUADratic control FRAMEwork.  The WEQUAD FRAME project’s main aim is to apply the linear quadratic modern control synthesis principles to multiple WEC technologies, in order to build a common control development framework for the PTOs regulating control laws.

Project partners:                                              INNOSEA Ltd, EPF Elettrotecnica Srl

Project cost (excl. VAT):                                               £41,690



  1. Reinforcement Learning to Optimise Levelised Cost Of Energy (RLoptCOE)

Project description: This project considers the application of reinforcement learning (RL) to the control of wave energy converters. RL uses experience to map actions to outcomes, and develops a control policy that maximises long-term rewards. By considering the trade-offs between performance and reliability we intend to work towards minimising the levelised cost of energy of wave power.

Project partners:                                              Mocean Energy Ltd, Wave Conundrums Consulting, Aquaharmonics Inc, Maxsim Ltd, David Forehand, David Pizer, Caelulum Ltd and CorPower Ocean AB.

Project cost (excl. VAT):                                               £46,926



  1. Control of WECs based on dielectric elastomer generators

Project description: This projects aims to develop tailored control laws for WECs based on Dielectric Elastomer Generators (DEGs), a class of deformable PTO systems based on rubber-like materials featuring low cost and a simple layout. The peculiar non-linear electro-elastic response of these devices, as well as the architecture of its power electronics, raise the need for dedicated control strategies specifically built upon DEG-based WECs requirements.

Project partners:                                              The University of Edinburgh, Cheros Srl., The University of Bologna, The University of Trento

Project cost (excl. VAT):                               £47,000



  1. Nonlinear Optimal Control: Concepts, Practicalities and Benefits

Project description: This project will evaluate the potential for nonlinear optimal control in wave energy devices to address the fundamental control challenges, including:

  • optimising in real-time a true nonlinear problem to maximise power extraction and at the same time maximising survivability.
  • practical issues, such as robustness, implementation and model derivation.

This Stage 1 project will evaluate the benefits using a simplified WEC/PTO simulation and develop the control concepts for solving these problems.

Project partners:                                              Mocean Energy Ltd, Pelagic Innovation Ltd, Industrial Systems and Control Ltd

Project cost (excl. VAT):                                               £47,000



  1. Adaptive hierarchical model predictive control of wave energy converters

Project description: This project proposes a hierarchical adaptive optimal control framework to maximise wave energy conversion efficiency while guaranteeing safe operation for a large range of sea states. The framework combines the strengths of several key promising technologies in control and wave prediction to adaptively achieve the best trade-off between energy maximisation and survivability.

Project partners:                                              Mocean Energy Ltd, Queen Mary University of London, University of Exeter

Project cost (excl. VAT):                                               £28,209



  1. ForeWave

Project description:  Project ForeWave aims to develop algorithms for estimation of the current sea wave state and wave force predictions by using real time motion data of floating wave energy converters. During Stage 1, logics will be developed and implemented on the full scale ISWEC gyroscopic system. Expected project main benefit is to provide to WEC developers new instruments to improve WEC performances and reliability.

Project partners:                                              Innosea Ltd, Politecnico di Torino, Wave for Energy Srl, Industrial Systems and Control Ltd

Project cost (excl. VAT):                                               £37,600



  1. IMPACT – Integrated Marine Point Absorber Control Tool

Project description: The Integrated Marine Point Absorber Control Tool (IMPACT) project aims to develop software tools to make the design and implementation of advanced control systems for point absorber type wave energy converters quicker and easier.  By doing so, the cost of design of the WECs will be reduced as control can be easily factored in early in the design process to help inform mechanical and electrical design, instead of being left until the latter stages of development as is often the case.

Project partners:                                              SgurrControl Ltd, Cruz Atcheson Consulting Engineers

Project cost (excl. VAT):                                               £47,000




  1. Wave Energy Advanced Control System (WEACS)

Project description: The WEACS Project effort will be directed towards the research, design and development of a control system that includes high-level supervisory and diagnostic functions, along with low-level, real-time dynamic-control processes. WEACS will serve as the central nervous system for a wave energy conversion device and will be connected to all systems within the device. Stage 1 will demonstrate the overall feasibility and expected benefits of WEACS to enable design and development to proceed in Stage 2.

Project partners:                                              CPower Alba Ltd, SgurrControl Ltd, Wave Venture Ltd,

Project cost (excl. VAT):                                               £46,900