Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


WETFEET Report Summary

Project ID: 641334
Funded under: H2020-EU.3.3.5.

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - WETFEET (Wave Energy Transition to Future by Evolution of Engineering and Technology)

Reporting period: 2015-05-01 to 2016-10-31

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

The WETFEET project starts from the identification and in-depth understanding of the main constraints that have been slowing down the development of wave energy to propose, study and develop a set of technology solutions to address these constraints. In view of its disruptive nature, these solutions were taken and classified in the scope of the project as ‘breakthrough features’. In the scope of WETFEET these were studied having as a reference two wave energy concepts, the OWC (Oscillating Water Column) and the Symphony, being developed by members of the consortium. Understanding the constraints and the factors that led to the current status of the wave energy sector allows seeking solutions to place the development of this important energy source (back) on track, both in Europe and beyond. The main avenues of research in the project are summarize as follows: 1) Survivability breakthrough via device submergence under storm conditions; 2) O&M (operation and maintenance) breakthrough via continuous submergence and adaption of components and strategies; 3) PTO (power take-off) breakthrough via the development of new materials for submerged polymeric PTO and the analysis and development of innovative electro-mechanic solutions; 4) Array breakthrough via sharing of mooring and electrical connections between nearby devices, as well as integral approach to device interaction and compact aggregates; 5) Increased device performance via the practical implementation and functionality of a negative spring for an OWC.

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

In particular, the following issues were identified as major obstacles to the desired success of wave energy: a) Reliability of technical components, particularly respecting to the PTO system; b) Survivability of overall system (moorings, geometry, operational philosophy); c) The long, complex and cost-intensive path towards a marketable product; d) The unclear path towards economic competitiveness, including uncertainty on support mechanisms; e) The unclear path towards industrial scalability, i.e. farms in the range of hundreds of MW. The development of solutions for that was initiated in the first period and there is good progress towards the objectives to report. Overall, efforts in the early stages of the project have been mostly focused on a better understating of the wave energy development constraints that WETFEET tackles, on the conceptual development and preliminary engineering analysis of the breakthroughs, on the development and application of numerical codes/models and on the definition of design specifications. Promising results have been obtained, providing good indications that some of the technology solutions being developed will indeed have a breakthrough nature. Part of the tasks dedicated to testing have already been initiated, with the testing of a single OWC device and of the first configurations of an array built on the principle of the sharing of moorings between devices. Models and prototypes are in the process of being built and the remaining test programmes are expected to start soon. Also during the first project period, the most crucial strategical decisions of the project have been established, particularly concerning methodological approaches to follow for the analysis of the potential for large-scale deployment/implementation of the breakthrough technology solutions being studied in WETFEET. The project’s results to date may more adequately be understood and analysed in the context of the project’s technical deliverables and milestones planned for the first period.

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

The breakthrough technology solutions proposed within WETFEET to overcome the stagnation in the development of wave energy represent new and innovative ideas that are expected to provide a new impetus to technology development within the sector. As above mentioned, although these breakthroughs are being developed and tested in laboratory via the integration into specific WEC concepts (the OWC and the Symphony), they are expected to be of broad application to several other concepts. The new ideas being launched by the project will ultimately contribute to improved and less varied WEC designs.
Since it is exclusively focused on the development of new ideas, the most relevant results of the project are expected to be fully formulated at a later stage, during the second period. The configurations of these new technology solutions that will most efficiently address the current wave energy constraints and render it a valid and attractive contribution to the energy challenge in Europe and worldwide will emerge from WETFEET’s outcomes. By actively seeking the stakeholders’ engagement, the project’s results are expected to reach the energy industry at large and help providing the players with the necessary confidence to frame wave energy technology as a strategic choice to be integrated in the future energy system. A joint industry and academia workshop, open to the general audience, industry players (including supply chain), academia and other interested actors, will be organized close to the end of the project to present WETFEET’s results and the most promising breakthrough components.
As the project progresses, more focus will be placed on these breakthrough technology solutions that prove to be more promising in tackling the related constraint. The project seeks to ensure, at every step of the development, that the new solutions do not bring out new unsolved issues in terms of the technical, economic, financial, environmental, policy, regulatory and societal aspects, and that they are developed as much as possible without loss of generality, to guarantee its applicability to other types of WEC. Nonetheless, it should be noted that the scope of WETFEET is to identify/characterize the wave energy sector challenges, propose solutions and initiate its development from TRL 2 to TRL 3/4. Further development of the breakthrough features that will prove to effectively work and of the detailed processes associated to its operation is beyond the scope of the project and should be pursued by the consortium and by technology developers in the aftermath of WETFEET.

Related information

Record Number: 198178 / Last updated on: 2017-05-17