The Concrete as a Technology Enabler (CREATE) project aims to confirm that reinforced concrete technology can make a step-change in the LCoE in wave energy converters (WECs). Reinforced concrete has a lower unit cost and superior durability compared to steel in the offshore environment. For many WEC types low mass is not a requirement for power absorption. In these cases structural concrete can present a more efficient solution, using the mass of the structure directly, rather than requiring the addition of ballast. Concrete is also a well understood material and can take advantage of a mature supply chain. The CREATE project is WEC technology agnostic and WEC devices have been chosen where the core benefits of concrete could be realised.
Stage 1 of the CREATE project demonstrated the potential benefit of concrete technology in four WEC devices, highlighting the versatility of the material in the sector. Stage 2 further demonstrated that concrete is a feasible material for application in WECs and can enable significant cost reduction. Design and testing activities mitigated technical risks, with a focus on areas of high localised loading such as tether and mooring connection points, and demonstrated the technical viability of precast concrete for WECs.
Stage 3 activities aim to enable the use of concrete in WEC deployments through design activities, engagement with contractors and suppliers, and development of a digital design tool that will enable WEC developers to identify where the use of concrete has the potential to deliver cost reductions in their technology designs. These activities will prime the supply chain for serial production of floating concrete WEC structures, and, equip developers with informative design tools.