mWave energy converter enters final test and assembly

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A wave energy converter claimed to be the world’s most powerful is being prepared for validation as Bombora Wave Power enters the final test and assembly phase of the 1.5MW Pembrokeshire Demonstration Project.

Bombora begins final test and assembly of world’s most powerful wave energy converter
Bombora begins final test and assembly of world’s most powerful wave energy converter - Bombora

Testing of sub-systems is currently underway as Bombora prepares to deliver the £20m project, which is supported by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) via the Welsh Government.

The company’s mWave cell membranes modules are being operated through their final round of design limit testing before being fitted into a steel foundation structure in Pembroke Dock.

Bombora said its mWave solution involves a series of air-inflated concave cells covered with rubber membranes and mounted into a steel foundation structure secured beneath the ocean’s surface. As waves pass overhead, air is squeezed out of each cell module in sequence, passing through one-way valves and into a duct system fitted with an axial turbine before being recirculated to refill each of the cell modules once the wave has passed. The unidirectional axial flow turbine is directly connected to a variable-speed generator to produce electricity. 

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“This is a really exciting phase as we gear up to deploy the world’s most powerful Wave Energy Converter,” said Bombora’s COO, Dave Rigg. “The project has been progressing at pace, with our specialist mWave cell membranes currently undergoing final tests, with extreme inflation and deflation cycles. This is the culmination of the full-system testing process involving detailed instrumentation, operation of the valve systems and powering of the PTO [Power Take Off] module.”

Rigg continued: “In the coming months we will complete the final assembly process on the quayside in Pembroke Dock before loadout to the operational site at East Pickard Bay, where the mWave technology will be validated in the open ocean, advancing it to TRL 7/8.”

The 900 tonne 1.5MW mWave is 75m long, 15m wide and 6m high. mWave cell modules can be configured to suit fixed-bed nearshore foundation systems or floating offshore ocean environments.

“The Pembrokeshire Demonstration Project aims to provide a blueprint for future multi-megawatt wave energy projects,” added Bombora managing director Sam Leighton. “It will play a crucial role proving both the reliability and competitiveness of our novel mWave technology. Importantly, it will also deliver key optimisation data to inform Bombora’s other world-leading initiatives including the InSPIRE Project, which is under development with global EPC contractor, TechnipFMC. This project aims to unlock the enormous potential of hybrid floating wind and wave arrays, which could play a significant role in the future energy transition - delivering a more consistent and stable clean energy supply by combining complementary power profiles.”