Skip to main content

Clean energy from ocean waves

Periodic Reporting for period 4 - CEFOW (Clean energy from ocean waves)

Reporting period: 2019-07-01 to 2020-05-31

Penguin WEC1 proved two major achievements. Penguin survived from storms and was able to operate for 25 months without interruption. Mooring system as well as the electrical connection were found commercially ready and relatively economical. Very little maintenance was needed during the deployment. WEC1 survived in almost 19 m waves which proofs survivability of the moorings and electrical connection.
WEC2 was an evaluation of WEC1 and was expected to perform much better in energy production. Its yield was expected to be economically viable being able to compete with other sources of renewable marine energy.
There are several indications that the CAPEX can be reduced in the long run. Steel price is a relevant factor and Wello has received offers with much lower prices for future devices. Manufacturing costs in India or China are much lower than in Europe but the related transportation cost narrows the gap. In addition, the ability to fix the design of WEC at the order and to produce the devices in serial production will push the cost down.
The project started in June 2015 with goal to deploy and grid connect three 1 MW Penguin Wave Energy Converters (WECs) at Wave Hub in Cornwall UK. The original planning and specifications were done for the Wave Hub site. Due to unexpected problems in 2016, there was a decision that the Penguins cannot be deployed at Wave Hub without jeopardizing the project goals, this lead to relocation to European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) in Orkney UK. In March 2017, the first Penguin was successfully deployed and connected to grid at EMEC.
The requirements and specifications were first defined for Wave Hub site, but later revised for EMEC site. The related WP1 has been finished. Existing Penguin (WEC1) went through maintenance and revision programme where modifications to improve performance and reliability were made.
WEC1 survived a two-year trial period thanks to simplified hull structure, simplified mooring design and improved cable geometry. The WEC2 mooring system was built off this successful WEC1 mooring system design.
The design basis and the requirements for the electrical system were established. After the successful installation of WEC1, a review was undertaken where lessons learnt were recorded so that they could be incorporated into the methodology for the WEC 2 electrical cable deployment. One key upgrade in this installation is the installation of a smart hub to accommodate several WECs at site.
Work on the electrical connection system involved significant liaison with numerous suppliers, resulting in a preliminary design that fitted within the project budget and within the procurement timescales required for the deployment of WEC2.
WEC2 was manufactured at a shipyard in Tallinn. WEC2 was ready for deployment when the project was cancelled, and all needed equipment and operational planning has been completed for WEC2.
CEFOW project aimed to demonstrate advanced ocean WEC technology to increase the speed of wave power development and decrease the levelised cost of ocean energy by 30%. That level was achieved based on design but not proved in real-life conditions.
Project reports marked for public dissemination are uploaded to the CORDIS website and are available on CEFOW has been featured at various marine energy events and the project has shared key learnings with the wave energy sector.
The WEC deployment have been very actively followed by the industry all over the world. Currently, no single wave power technology has taken a dominant position and no large-scale installations have been done. The technology development phase has taken longer than expected by the energy industry. However, at the moment the view on the whole wave energy industry looks positive and several developers are active again.
Building renewable wave energy devices at shipyards opens whole new opportunity for ship building industry which has been struggling globally. The higher transportation costs from Asia mean that European manufacturers remain very competitive. Subsidy mechanisms encourages using local supply chain and developing the local infrastructure.
CEFOW project has had a positive impact to the local community as well as on building sustainable business opportunities in the growing ocean energy sector in Europe. However, this requires further development work and long-term dedication to the development.
EC and H2020 representatives visiting WEC1.
Penguin wave energy converter in Orkney, Scotland.