Wave energy converters must be both robustly survivable and produce sufficient average yield to deliver attractive economic performance. Delivering against these two commonly conflicting requirements remains a major barrier to improved cost of energy.
The novel concept to be developed in this project is intended to break this fundamental conflict between performance and survivability by introducing the ability to substantially change the machine hull volume on command. In the same way that ships reef their sails to deliver speed and survivability, selectable hull volume change allows a wave energy converter (WEC) to revert to a smaller robustly survivable form when the waves are extreme. The proposed Automatically Inflatable and Stowable Volume ('AISV') technology is intended to provide the economics of an otherwise unsurvivable machine with the survivability of an otherwise uneconomic machine.
The project will demonstrate the feasibility of an inflatable membrane or other flexible structure using the well-researched articulated line-absorber configuration as a case study.
The expected transformational step reduction in levelised cost of energy will be quantified, taking into account integrated capital cost, impact on annual average yield, operational costs and availability.