Finnish utility company Fortum has announced a €24.5m wave energy technology project at Cornwall’s Wave Hub, involving partners including Plymouth and Exeter University and renewable power generation company Mojo Maritime.
The CEFOW (Clean Energy From Ocean Waves) project has been granted funding from the European Commission”s Horizon 2020 programme, and will use wave power converter specialist Wello”s Penguin wave energy converter technology. This turns wave power to electricity using continuous rotational movement without hydraulics, joints or gears, and with all parts sealed inside the floating hull.
As the unit uses the same components that are used in wind turbines, it should be cost competitive with offshore wind energy. It is also designed especially for use in rough conditions.
“Wave Hub is offering an excellent testing and development environment for this particular technology,” said Mikko Huumo, Fortum Corporation”s manager for R&D growth projects. “The grid-connected demonstration site is deep enough and Wello will be able to develop its device in all possible sea conditions. The concept of the Penguin device will remain the same, but we are putting efforts into optimising the software which is directly linked with power production. The wave energy converter itself will also see small improvements here and there.”
Wello’s Penguin has recently completed several years power production and survivability testing off Orkney.
“In the long run, we hope that wave power will be an important renewable energy source, together with wind and PV, and wave power could become competitive energy source without any subsidies,” Huumo added. “We have still long way to go, but we believe that this project is exactly right to get wave power and the Penguin closer to commercial deployments.”