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Wave Energy Generators for Marine Buoys and Aquaculture Fish Farms

Periodic Reporting for period 3 - eForcis and BeForcis (Wave Energy Generators for Marine Buoys and Aquaculture Fish Farms)

Reporting period: 2019-09-01 to 2020-02-29

Global warming and climate change are possibly the most relevant challenges human being is currently facing. Obviously, a drastic carbon emission reduction is needed to stop them, or at least to reduce their implications. The transition to energy sources free of carbon becomes urgent. The marine energy is one of the biggest sources that, unlike solar or wind energy, it is still in a low stage of development. However, Europe is leading the global efforts to develop technology able to use wave, tide and other marine energy sources at a competititive cost. In the last years, these efforts have been assembled in a Blue Growth strategy, joining other industries related with oceans.
Smalle Technologies wants to make its contribution to the Blue Growth strategy. For such contribution, it has developed the eForcis, a low wave power generator intended for offshore applications. It consists of a relatively small device to be installed in buoys, fish farms or other kind of offshore platforms to get an extra power for offshore consumption. It does not try to supply abundant power at low cost, but to ensure the supply of it. Therefore, its design was focused on reliablity and durability over efficiency. In addition, it is able to get some power in quite diffferent sea conditions instead of being focused in high waves, as all the marine wave energy converters (WEC) try to do.
Therefore, the eForcis can be applied for several offshore applications/industries:
- Data buoys: offering more power, thus more and better quality data, for oceanographic and meteorological applications.
- Aid To Navigation Buoys: offering more power to better signs, to increase safety or reduce maintenance costs.
- Aquaculture: offering more power to different offshore sensors and/or cameras used in marine fish farms, which will decisively contribute to improve their sustainability, profitability, productivity and the quality of the fish produced.
- Offshore wind industry: to perform better analysis in previous studies for offshore wind park allocations.
- And some other applications within Blue Growth industries that could arise in the near future.
In addition, the eForcis has allowed Smalle to achieve a considerable knowledge of its own technology, which could be applied in the following years to scale its prototype to higher power levels.
Currently, the goals of the eForcis & BeForcis Project are:
a) To bring eForcis technology from current TRL6-TRL7 to TRL9, to be a full comercial technology.
b) To design and manufacture a buoy which maximises power production of the eForcis, therefore building a data buoy with a competitive advantage to the rest of buoys of the market, as with more power available could perform better and more accurate tasks. Smalle has defined this data buoy as BeForcis. The current goal of the Project with respect to BeForcis is to design, manufacture and deploy it in a real environment.
The work performed in the two years of the Project is in line with the previous plan in the DoA, except by some delays explained further in the Technical Report and the corresponding Deliverables.
Regarding the BeForcis, its design is finished, and its manufacturing process has delayed due to the selection of a new manufacturing technique: 3D printing, much cheaper and flexible than traditional rotomoulding.
Regarding the eForcis, several more robust eForcis prototypes were manufactured, stress and sea tested. In progress sea tests may lead the eForcis to final certification.
Furthermore, the dissemination and communication was constant and positive. Especially in the aquaculture industry, Smalle has become a relevant player in the Spanish aquaculture market, well-known by the industry at a low cost.
The budget were spent in line with the plan, although with two big differences explained in the Technical report (the BeForcis buoy manufacturing cost reduction and avoided unnecessary ship costs for some sea tests).
The eForcis&BeForcis Project expects to achieve at least 6 uninterrupted months of real operation of the eForcis in the sea. The marine energy industry needs to globally increase their knowledge to reach full commercial applicability in the following decades, and eForcis technology will represent one step forward in this long way.
However, the eForcis&BeForcis Project will have an almost immediate impact in the marine fish farms. The BeForcis technology will allow them to increase the use of feeding or surveillance cameras and many other sensors. That could contribute to the improve of the factor conversion ratio (fish produced against feed delivered), reduce mortality, therefore improve productivity, profitability, sustainability in the offshore aquaculture industry.
In terms of its use in data buoys, the eForcis&BeForcis Project will contribute to increase the current amount of data, and especially its quality and accuracy. This can lead to a better understanding of the changes in the sea produced by the climate change, therefore to a better understanding and forecasting of global oceanic dynamics. This will help the human beign to cope with current chalenges derived from global warming in the sea, which affect to million people living in the coasts worldwide.
Smalle team at European Aquaculture Society Trade Fair in Montpellier, August 2018
Hector Martin in Future Fish Eurasia in Izmir
eForcis device in Smalle proprietary simulator
Stress Test of eForcis in the Smalle proprietary simulator, April 2018
Hector Martin and some Acuiplus partners in Morocco - Salon Halieutis
Javier Garcia and Hector Martin in the European Aquaculture Society Trade Fair, Dubrovnik, Oct 2017
Carlos Jordà and Alex Martinez with a buoy with a currents profiler and oxymeter, before deployment
eForcis ready to be deployed in Ireland for a Sea Test, August 2018
Hector Martin pitching at the sectorial aquaculture event in Madrid, May 2018