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 and market demand. 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 or RO-derived freshwater, depending on the customer.
There are four main markets sectors:
1. The Electricity Market
The global electricity market is a multi-trillion dollar industry. In 2016 the value of the all-island Irish market alone was > €2 billion for Ireland and £28 billion for the UK. Assuming a future grid penetration rate for wave energy of only 10%, this represents a market value of >£3 billion euro for Ireland and the UK alone. The wave energy resource off the west coast of Ireland and Scotland is the highest in the world, bar none. This, coupled with Europe’s ambitions to develop a strong sustainable energy industry, will see the development of an industry that Sea Power Ltd plans to exploit – with the use of Seapower Platform technology with on-board rotary PTO systems. As renewable energy resources – both wind energy and wave energy do not always occur at the same time in the same region. Thus, allowing Wave Energy Converters to deliver electricity to the grid leads to higher allowable penetration rates of renewable energy to capture this market.
2. Seawater Pumped Hydro Electrical Storage (SPHES)
Energy storage using pumped storage to land-based elevated reservoirs is a relatively simple and cost effective solution to the problem of electrical energy supply and demand. A number of such seawater systems have been proposed / built globally but none using intermittent wave energy as the primary input. During periods of high electrical demand, the stored seawater 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 renewable energy. A combined solution of Seapower Platform Arrays directly pumping into a SPHES facility will greatly support intermittent renewable energy penetration rates at a national level. Using a Seapower Platform to directly pump into ground-based wells under pressure (e.g. left over from Oil and Gas industry) is also possible.
The Seapower Platform, configured with the patented seawater hydraulic pumping PTO, is ideal for providing high pressure water into a pumped storage facility as shown above, ensuring 100% renewable energy stored as potential energy in the elevated reservoir.
3. The Seawater Desalination market
A Renewable Energy solution to the problem of regional potable water shortage is to use a Seapower Platform to pump constant pressure raw seawater into an RO Desalination plant, using the same PTO described in #2 above. 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 mean 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 its 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.
4. An Emergency Freshwater Supply Unit
A fully modular and smaller scale Seapower Platform that can fit on a 40ft ISO shipping container or smaller, which can be shipped anywhere in the world via road, rail or ship. Such a machine is easily deployed out to a short distance using a small vessel tow and once moored it can immediately provide a supply of freshwater to local coastal and/or island communities (for drinking or agricultural use). Water scarcity is a global problem, especially in disaster-relief situations such as volcano eruptions, floods, earthquakes, electrical blackouts, or for temporary refugee camps. This version of a desalinating Seapower Platform requires no electricity input to convert seawater into freshwater. The on-board patented pumping system uses renewable & unlimited wave energy as the input power, to feed an on-board high pressure desalination membrane, which can deliver thousands of litres of drinking water per day through a food-grade hose back to shore. The machine is now commercially ready to licence to disaster relief agencies, militaries, NGOs, or to government agencies. We are developing this machine in partnership with Markzero Prototypes in the USA.