The Seapower engineers and project coordinators have been involved in the wave energy industry for over 25 years and have been developing the SeaPower Platform since 2008. A strong business and economic model underpin all our technological development. We and our partners are driven by the desire to make wave energy a reality, to reduce carbon emissions in the generation of electricity or to provide drinking water and water for irrigation economically. Our strength is our association with other small and medium sized companies in Ireland, the UK and continental Europe, who are also dedicated to the cause of making ocean energy a reality.
Our primary objective is to produce a commercially viable wave energy converter (WEC) by 2018. The pathway includes the deployment of a series of step-wise sea-going devices, each suited to the energy climate of the relevant Irish wave energy test sites. Sea Power Ltd carefully follows the well-established guidelines as set out in the Irish Marine Institute/HMRC Development Protocol and treat each development step as a stage gate. TRL and MRL assessments are carried out with every step and we continue to seek performance appraisals from reputable external bodies. Our longer term aim is to expand the company and deploy full scale commercial devices for open Atlantic sites such as Belmullet in Co. Mayo, Ireland. Already, the combination of very strong predicted Power Matrix (at the AMETS test site for example) and the use of novel PTO solutions and an all-concrete construction means that we are fast approaching commerciality. Refer to the Cost of Energy page.
In brief, Sea Power Ltd. activities will focus chronologically on :
- Ongoing tank testing, and optimisation campaigns e.g. MARINET, KHL, Flowave.
- Ongoing PTO development, e.g survival loading studies, FMECA studies, LCOE reduction. Recent results are available here
- Deployment at the 1:4 scale Test Site at Smartbay’s Galway Bay [⇒TRL 5, 6 ]
- Deployment at the >1:3 scale into a European test site
- Future deployment in AMETS: Full Scale Test Site (50m and or 100m deep)
- Sell or Licence the Technology for large scale production, or for standalone emergency freshwater production unit.
The company is engineering led, not ruled by investors and false promises. To date, we have been using funding streams from EU funding and Scotland, without seeking a finanical backer – yet. Our engineering team has designed and constructed an in-house wave flume, allowing us to carry out small scale, low cost trial-and-error design checks at 1:50 scale. High level testing, however, is carried out in professionally run wave basin laboratories such as those Beaufort Research in University College Cork, the Kelvin facility at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow and the Queens University Marine Laboratory in Portaferry. This approach has proven to be invaluable. First comes intuition, early testing in the flume, proper numerical analysis and then performance evaluation in wave laboratories by independent professionals.
The team designs with SolidWorks® and as well as building prototypes for wave basins they have built numerous PTO test rigs at the company’s workshop. The latest test rig is a precise scaled down replica of a full sized PTO system. The inputs (provided by a servo-controlled prime mover and LabVIEW) are derived from numerical analysis of the full scale attenuator operating in real Atlantic seas. The outputs, therefore, replicate motions, velocities, forces and powers in real sea conditions. The test rig was designed with sufficient flexibility to enable the company to:
- Demonstrate functionality and validate the output performance of the high pressure seawater hydraulic PTO for use with the Seapower Platform
- Demonstrate functionality and validate an electricity generating direct drive PTO use with Seapower Platform
The objective of these tests was to inform the ongoing LCOE calculations, and reduce cost. The mechanical/hydraulic/electrical components make up the greatest proportion of total WEC CAPEX regardless of which PTO stream is deployed, so getting the PTO damping strategy and survival strategy is important. The demonstration also proves functionality for an emergency freshwater supply system for coastal communities that require drinking water.