Making waves

Ocean WaveMaster, which produces large-scale wave energy converters, has commissioned The Northern Energy Initiative to provide modelling support for its latest phase of work.


Manchester-based Ocean WaveMaster, which makes a large-scale wave energy converter, has commissioned The Northern Energy Initiative (TNEI) to provide modelling support for its latest phase of work.



Ocean WaveMaster’s design has been tested in an 18m pool where it was shown to produce in excess of 20MW of energy. The next stage will investigate how it can achieve its full potential to provide continuous power generation at sea.



TNEI is carrying out Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) analysis on the WaveMaster to characterise and improve its efficiency over the full range of sea conditions.



It will also help address a number of technical problems associated with generating electricity from deep water waves several kilometres offshore. TNEI has been awarded a grant from the Carbon Trust under its marine energy accelerator programme to develop a power take off component for wave energy devices.



There are two common problems shared by many marine power generation concepts. First, the type of motion experienced by wave energy devices is ill-suited to traditional electrical machines – waves are too slow for traditional generators.



The other major problem associated with marine energy is the cost and logistics of mooring devices in deep waters. Deep-water devices cannot rely on the seabed for reaction provision due to the prohibitive cost of mooring. As it is not possible to convert the kinetic energy of a wave energy device unless it can react against something, any deep-water device must make provision for an inertial reference.



The marine energy team at TNEI is currently researching alternative solutions to both of these problems.