Irish firm Ocean Energy is set to collaborate with 14 partners in the UK, Ireland, France, Germany, and Spain to develop a project that will test its OE35, the world’s largest capacity floating oscillating water column (OWC) wave energy device (WEC). The project is co-funded by the EU Horizon Europe Program and by Innovate UK, the UK’s innovation agency.
Ocean Energy has already tested its large-scale oscillating water column generators in Hawaii, and has just signed a four-year project to test, validate and commercialize its largest unit to date off Scotland’s Orkney Islands.
“This rigorous technical and environmental demonstration will happen over a two-year period in Atlantic wave conditions,” said Tony Lewis, Chief Technical Officer at Ocean Energy. “We believe this will be transformational for the wave energy industry, with outcomes directly impacting policy, technical standards, public perception and investor confidence. Wave energy is the world’s most valuable and persistent renewable resource.
Although the dimensions of the 0E35 have not yet been established, the machine the company built for testing at a US Navy test facility in Hawaii measures 38.1 x 18 m, with a draft of 9.4 m and a total weight of 826 tons. The new €19.6-million project is co-funded by the EU Horizon Europe Program and Innovate UK.
Wave energy is the world’s most valuable and persistent renewable resource.Tony Lewis, Chief Technical Officer at OceanEnergy
“We are expecting WEDUSEA to take wave energy beyond the state of the art by the collaboration of partners with a multi-disciplinary background and that it will contribute to the deployment of arrays of reliable wave energy devices to achieve the 1GW target for 2030 as presented in our Offshore Renewable Energy Strategy,” said Matthijs Soede from the European Commission. “The current energy crisis shows that the use of multiple energy sources is important to improve the security of supply and a breakthrough in ocean energy would be welcome.
Floating on the ocean’s surface, the device incorporates a trapped air volume, with the lower part open to the sea. Wave pressures at the submerged opening cause the water to oscillate and drive the trapped air through a turbine to generate electricity. This energy can be exported to the grid or used in other offshore applications.
The new WEDUSEA project will demonstrate a 1MW OE35 floating wave energy converter connected to the grid at the European Marine Energy Center’s test site in Orkney, Scotland. The project will be developed in three phases over four years.
The project has three phases. The first one is the initial design of a device suited to European Marine Energy test site’s ocean conditions . This will be followed by the demonstration at the site, lasting two years. The final phase will be commercialization and dissemination which sees the capitalization and exploitation of the results.
Ocean Energy and other consortium companies will actively exploit the results through new innovations, products and services. The results will also be disseminated to feed both environmental databases and IEC electrotechnical standards.
Horizon Europe is the EU’s funding program for research and innovation with a budget of €95.5 billion for the period from 2021-2027. It tackles climate change, helps to achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and boosts the EU’s competitiveness and growth.
The program facilitates collaboration and strengthens the impact of research and innovation in developing, supporting and implementing EU policies while tackling global challenges.