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Erosion Control Oscillating Wave Energy Converter

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - ECOWEC (Erosion Control Oscillating Wave Energy Converter)

Reporting period: 2019-12-01 to 2020-08-31

Climate Change is the greatest issue that currently affects our world: its negative impact on the environment, society and economy has constantly increased over the past years. Counteracting climate change through de-carbonization of the economy and society has therefore become an impelling necessity. This transformation must primarily involve a radical change in the energy supply chain.
Contextually, climate change is accelerating the coastal erosion phenomenon. Hard coastal structures are no definitive solution: they often disrupt the natural sediment drift and lead to an exacerbation of erosion somewhere else. Marine erosion is also affecting coastal structures themselves, increasing the vulnerability of coastal settlements.
Energy provision and management is a priority to Port Authorities as well: Ports and nearby areas have always been locations for energy production, due to the easy access to raw materials, mainly fossil fuels. This factor, joined to the several activities of the harbor industry, causes low air quality and high CO2 emissions.
Wave power is the key factor that connects and addresses these issues.
ECOWEC Project aimed to develop a Wave Energy Converter able to produce renewable energy while counteracting coastal erosion. The overall objectives of the project aimed to define strategies and solutions to tackle fiancial, business and echnical barriers that currently hinder the market uptake of blue energy. Therefore, the project focused on three main topics:
- Technical feasibility
- Market Search
- Commercialization strategy
TECHNICAL FEASIBILITY. ECOWEC is a multi-purpose, simple and modular device: The project allowed to develop three different versions of the device:
- ECOWEC zero-coastal erosion, mainly conceived to coastal erosion control, and requires a low capital intensive initial investment.
- ECOWEC Onshore, conceived for the production of multiple energy outputs (electric, pneumatic and thermal), requires a low capital intensive initial investment.
- ECOWEC Near-shore, mainly devoted to electricity production and coastal erosion prevention, requires a high capital intensive initial investment.
The detailed cost analysis performed, allowed to prove ECOWEC financial sustainability. The disrupting innovation of our solution is in the full-customizability of the product: ECOWEC can meet client's needs both on technical features, installation site and financial capabilities.

MARKET SEARCH. ECOWEC addresses mainly two markets: coastal erosion and renewable energy. The development of different versions allowed a wider market coverage. According to the version taken into account, ECOWEC addresses to different clients segments and end-users. Zero-costal-erosion ECOWEC is mainly addressed to coastal managing authorities; Onshore Version has been designed primarily to be installed on port artificial structures, and addresses therefore Port Authorities; Near-shore ECOWEC is mainly conceived for Utility Companies. Direct clients are also general contracting companies: by including ECOWEC in their commercial offer, they diversify and innovate their business, providing more added value to their clients. The implemented market survey allowed collecting the interest from different typologies of stakeholders around Europe.

COMMERCIALIZATION STRATEGY. To tackle technical and financial barriers that hinder wave energy market uptake, Fazzini Meccanica has developed an agile, multi-stage commercialization strategy: each ECOWEC version corresponds both to a market-ready product and to a stage in the market uptake process for more complex, capital intensive, ECOWEC Versions.
ECOWEC is the first multi-purpose WEC: by producing different outputs (Energy production and coastal erosion protection), it addresses both blue energy and coastal erosion markets. Moreover, the novel approach applied to commercialization strategy, allows a wider impact of the device on the market and to Wave Energy Converter development. Its market uptake has a wide potential impact both on society and environment. In fact, it can contribute to:
- Counteract the negative effects of climate change, through the reduction of CO2 emissions and the reduction of negative impact of wave power on the coastline
- Reducing costs related to coastal protection
- Increase the renewable energy share production
- Improve productivity of port areas, and increasing its sustainability
- Improve air quality of port areas
- Improve productivity of coastal areas, creating new jobs (long-term impact).