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FP6

WAVEGEN — Result In Brief

Project ID: 17766
Funded under: FP6-SME
Country: Italy

Renewable energy hidden among the waves

Interest in converting wave energy into electricity is gathering strength. The recent release of a novel, low-cost modular prototype could not have been better timed.
Renewable energy hidden among the waves
Europe has done a very good job of exploiting solar and wind energy across the continent. However, to reach the ambitious 2020 goals, the energy mix will also need to include other renewable energy sources. The technology to harvest wave energy is maturing, thanks in part to healthy investment in research and development (R&D).

The EU-funded 'Wave pump submergible power generator' (Wavegen) project looked to take wave energy to the next level. The goal was to integrate proven pump technology from a previous research and technology development (RTD) project (Wavepump) with a submergible hydraulic turbine.

In order to maximise energy production, project partners decided to string together several Wavepumps. To overcome issues such as damping vibrations, the Wavegen team employed a computation fluid dynamics (CFD) model to simulate different set ups and sea conditions. Great care was taken during the design and construction of the Wavegen prototype to reduce the costs associated with installation and operation, namely maintenance.

Field tests were subsequently carried out and optimal spacing between pumps was identified, helping minimise unwanted pulsation. It should also be noted that the system is flexible and can be configured to connect with an onshore hydropower converter.

The Wavegen prototype brought us one step closer to the day when the abundant supply of energy in the waters surrounding Europe can be exploited.

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