Arup consortium secures funding from Wave Energy Scotland aiming to bring down cost of wave power

Sarah Wright - Communications Coordinator Sarah Wright UKIMEA Press Office,London
31 March 2020

A team led by Arup has secured funding from Wave Energy Scotland (WES) to demonstrate the potential of new applications of concrete to bring down the cost of wave power.

It is one of two consortia that will share just under £1 million for projects that aim to bring down the cost of wave power.

The Arup consortium aims to show that pre-cast reinforced concrete can be incorporated in a variety of wave technologies.

We are excited to work with WES to further develop our concrete wave energy convertor design, and improve the commercial case for the sector. The previous stage included successful full-scale testing of an innovative precast connection for concrete wave energy devices. The next stage comprises integrating the material into the ‘Archimedes Waveswing’ device to reduce cost, and development of a digital design tool to enable concrete to be exploited in the sector more widely. ” George Walker George Walker Associate, Advanced Digital Engineering, Arup

The other consortium, led by rope and mooring specialists, Tension Technology International, will advance the design of their flexible buoyant pod which is encapsulated in a fibre rope net.

Our goal is to deliver technologies that can produce power reliably and can demonstrate a route to commercial readiness. These two projects use materials that have a long history of use in the marine environment but so far have not been considered for wave energy machines. We believe both have real potential to be incorporated in future devices and bring down the cost of wave power. ” Tim Hurst Managing Director, WES

The Arup team is already working with Inverness-based wave energy technology developer AWS Ocean Energy to investigate the use of the technology in the AWS Archimedes Waveswing.  This submerged buoy is itself a recipient of WES funding through the novel wave energy convertor programme.

Last year AWS and Edinburgh firm Mocean Energy shared £8 million to build half-scale wave energy machines which will be tested in real ocean conditions later this year.

Tim Hurst, Managing Director at WES said:

“One of the benefits of reinforced concrete is that it has a lower unit cost and superior durability to steel in the marine environment and could be applied to a number of wave energy concepts, especially where its higher mass can bring benefits,”

“At the other end of the scale, TTI’s Netbuoy offers buoyancy where needed, with the ability to flex under extreme wave loads.

“These awards will enable both technologies to make significant advances towards commercially ready products.”

The consortium aims to bring down the cost of wave power The consortium aims to bring down the cost of wave power
Carnegie Clean Energy ‘CETO 6’ Concrete Wave Energy Device

Both projects secured their awards to progress to Stage 3 of WES’ Structural Materials and Manufacturing Processes programme, having come through the WES Stage Gate process, which began with ten technologies at stage 1 and three at stage 2.

The teams aim to demonstrate the survivability of their concepts and their application in a range of wave energy devices.  They will also work with supply chain partners to advance the commercialisation of their technologies and will provide open source design tools that can be used by wave energy developers in the design of their devices.

This is the latest stage gate funding process in the WES programme, which is fully funded by the Scottish Government.  This month, Holyrood have confirmed that they will provide a further £8.2 million of funding for the WES programme in the 2020/21 budget.

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