A feature of the Seapower Platform is that the base machine can easily be configured to take different types of PTO systems depending on the required output. Two different streams of PTO have been developed – one for direct drive electricity generation into a national grid, and the other for hydraulically pumped seawater, depending on the customer.
There are three main markets sectors:
1. The Electricity market
- The global electricity market is a multi-trillion dollar industry. In 2013 the value of the all-island Irish market alone was €2.3 billion.
- Wholesale prices for electricity (SMP) varies hourly and daily and is closely related to the price of natural gas. The average value is approximately €60 per MWh but can vary between €20 and €300 per MWh (2c and 30c per kWh). The Cost of Energy for a direct drive version of the Seapower Platform have been accurately calculated and this allows investors to determine profitability.
- Ireland plans 500 MW of installed wave energy capacity by 2020.
- The wave energy resource off the west coast of Ireland is almost the highest in the world. This, coupled with Europe’s ambitions to develop a strong sustainable energy industry, will see the development of an industry which Sea Power Ltd plans to exploit.
- Between 2007 and 2012 Ireland delivered only a few MWh of wave generated energy to the grid. While this is an insignificant fraction of that supplied by the wind industry, it should be borne in mind that it took three decades for the wind industry to deliver what it does today and there are serious question marks over its viability even today.
2. The Seawater Desalination market
A Renewable Energy solution to the problem of potable water shortage is to use a Seapower Platform to pump constant pressure raw seawater into an RO Desalination plant. The total global desalination components market is expected to reach more than $3.6 billion in 2012. In RO (reverse osmosis), seawater is pumped at pressures slightly above the osmotic pressure against a membrane, causing separation of the minerals from the water. Recent developments in RO membrane technology means that the RO pressure requirement has reduced. The consequence of this is more throughput of water for the same wave power input. This feature is a perfect match for the version of SeaPower Platform that deploys pumped water in it’s PTO stream.
Due to the huge demand for potable water, high energy fossil-fuel powered desalination is experiencing exponential growth but this is to the detriment of the environment. Powering desalination plants directly with renewable energy sources is a very attractive, eco-friendly and sustainable proposition. The Seapower Platform could meet these requirements.
3. Pumped Hydro Electrical Storage (PHES)
Energy storage using pumped storage to land-based elevated reservoirs is a relatively simple solution to the problem of electrical energy supply and demand. During periods of high electrical demand, the stored water is released back down through turbines to produce electrical power. In order to meet the fluctuating demands of renewable energies, pumped hydro-storage facilities can be used to store electrical energy when demand is low, and supply electricity when demand is high. The efficiency of this system is typically between 70% and 87%, making it one of the more efficient methods of storing energy.
The Seapower Platform, configured with the patented seawater hydraulic pumping PTO, is ideal for providing high pressure water to pumped storage. Using SeaPower Platforms is a very efficient solution for PHES because its seawater pump (the patented C-Pump) is at the very core of the PTO. This obviates the need to first generate the electricity on board and then drive ‘bought-in’ electrically driven pumps.