Wind TO Wave-Tidal Farms
By Dick Flanagan

UK Trade and Investment invited World-Generation to join delegates from the United States and South Africa on a three-day marine renewable energy trade mission to Imperial College, University of NewCastle, NaREC and BWEA’s Third Annual Wave and Tidal Conference.

“The UK is clearly now the world leader in marine energy development,” Minister of State for Energy, Malcolm Wicks told the 250 delegates to British Wind Energy Association’s (BWEA) Third Annual Wave and Tidal Conference held at the Sage in Gateshead. Speaking from Parliament with Ben Bradshaw, using a live video linkup, Wicks was referring to a new wave of grants from the 50 million euro renewable fund. UK set a goal of 20 percent generation from renewables by 2020. The government also instituted subsidies of 150 euros per MWh for seven years capping at 9 million euros for full scale marineprototypes. Renewable Obligation Certificates (ROC’s) account for 30 euros per MWh. Ben Bradshaw, Parliamentary Under Secretary for Marine Welfare added that the EC will be watching the UK, “as the model for the rest of the world.”

Wave and tidal developers consist of new start-up companies, OEM’s, university spin-outs or combinations of all three. The Carbon Trust’s, Marine Energy Challenge, operating in a tender bid, matched up eight developers with engineering consultants to identify and gauge concepts at varying degrees of development during an 18 month, 3 million euro funded study between January 2004 and June 2005.

The MEC Eight
Abbott Risk Consulting reviewed Aqua Energy’s patented “Aquabouy” consisting of the IPS offshore wave energy converter and the Swedish Hosepump. As the buoy pitches from wave energy, the seawater is pumped into the turbine converting kinetic energy into electricity.

Clearpower Technology’s, Wavebob, is a self-reacting point absorber that exploits the relative movement of two floating bodies giving greater bandwidth. Wavebob’s innovative features of responding to high energy long period waves while maintaining small displacements is being reported on by Arup Energy Consulting.

Black & Veatch examined the wave rotor technology from ECOFYS which transfers energy from both tidal and wave currents based on hydrodynamic lift. The monopile mounting can be shared with offshore wind turbine developers. Tests were conducted at NaREC.

Embley Energy developed SPERBOY based on the principle of oscillating water columns, displacing air using multiple chambers simultaneously. It’s been designated for development 8-12 miles offshore and is being evaluated by DNV (Det Norske Veritas) the certification agency.

Lancaster University’s PS Frog is an offshore point absorber wave energy device. Shaped like a paddle, it pitches and surges with the wave’s action capturing large amounts of power for its size. EON Power is critiquing the device.

Ocean Power Delivery developed the Pelamis wave energy converter, a semi-submerged structure consisting of three power conversions modules rated at 250 KW each. Frazer-Nash Consulting followed extensive sea-trials at EMEC.

Sea Volt Technologies designed Wave Rider, a point absorber wave device for sites of water depths greater than 50M. The symmetrical buoy floats freely. Halcrow Group is the consultant.

Wave Dragon is a slack-moored, overtopping wave energy device, similar to a hydroelectric power plant. Waves travel onto a ramp and into a reservoir where low-head hydro turbines return the water back to the sea. Peter Brotherhood consulted on the project during sea-trials.

Hydroventuri and Ocean Wave Master are spin-outs from Imperial College. Susan Searle, CEO of Imperial Innovations told World-Generation during a tour of the wave tank lab, “that over 60 new companies and 70 license agreements have been launched since 1988.” Many are listed on AIM (Alternate Investment Market) stock exchange.

SMD Hydro and Wavegen are working with the University of Newcastle, School of Marine Science and Technology under Dr. Atilla Incecik to answer the question of dealing with a quick drop in topography found in California and in the Med.

Initial prototype testing was carried out at the New and Renewable Energy Center (NaREC) in Blyth. The marine test facility has 3 seawater docks for wave and tidal experiments. BWEA and NaREC provided a tour the day before the conference.

Following NaREC’s trials, projects are moved to the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) located in Orkney. It is the world’s first purpose built, open-sea test facility for marine energy converters. Tidal berths are in water depths of 50m with grid connections.

BWEA’s, “Power and Opportunity” directory lists fourteen wave developers and seven tidal developers; eight made it into the Carbon Trust’s, MEC and two were spin-outs from Imperial College.

Other listed developers are Marine Current Turbines (MCT) and Ocean Power Technologies (OPT), both have major investors.

All will be listed with contact information in the 12th edition of Bueche’s Directory of Developers in World-Generation’s Volume 18, Issue Number 3.