Wave Energy Converter recent trials

Wave Energy Converter recent trials

Protean Energy completed its final phase of pre-commercial ocean testing at the end of October 2016, proving concept and the ability to deliver consistent, reliable and affordable clean energy.

Several valuable insights were gained from early analysis of the ocean based testing in conjunction with the completion of a "wave to wire" numerical model. This provided scope for modifications to improve the efficiency of the WEC during the various phases of testing. It has also provided valuable input data for the establishment of the basis of design.


Recent Trial Results

The below charts illustrate that the correlation of frequency response of the WEC unit from the recent ocean based tests closely matches that of the "wave to wire" model. Whilst this is not unexpected it does provide confidence in the ability of the model to be used for the detailed design of the WEC unit to provide optimum power output. The "wave to wire" model has identified optimisations in the WEC unit’s configuration to tune the response of the unit across a wider spectra of wave frequencies to enhance the power output. These results are being analysed and evaluated as part of the detailed design program.

The wave to wire model has also indicated a few areas where scaling and optimisation of the energy generation system can provide considerably improved power output without significantly increasing the volume of the WEC unit.

The benefits of using the "wave to wire" model are that improvements in the floating unit (fBox) and energy generation unit (eBox) can be simulated before expending resources on procurement, assembly, testing and trials programs. It also provides design input data to inform a risk based approach to the finalisation of a commercial prototype WEC unit in balance with cost optimisation.

Ocean testing observations

Energy has been generated from the WEC ocean test unit in the form of compressed air.  Pressure build, temperature and flow rates have all been measured to determine power output.  In addition to the confirmation of power capture, the testing experience has provided learnings on installation, maintenance, recovery and survivability of the WEC unit.

Early estimates indicate that in its current design form with modifications to the energy generation system the WEC will generate average power in the range 1 – 2 kW and peak at over 5 kW all dependent on the wave type. With modifications to the form of the WEC unit it is anticipated there will be further opportunities to improve these power outputs. 

Detail Design & Manufacture

As a result of the testing program, design enhancements were identified for the fBox, iBox,  eBox, mooring system, Air receiving system, Power Take Off. The commercialisation program includes reliability testing of all critical components including mooring system, air receiving system (PACS), power take off (PTO).

Manufacturing specification includes:

  • Technical

  • Methods

  • Cost

  • Schedule

  • Production

Scale & Commercialise

  • Complete feasibility study for demonstration wave farm.

  • Commercial production of WEC Units and PTO

  • Commission commercial pilot scale Protean™ Wave Farm.