The west coast of Scotland is home to some of the most powerful and consistent wave generating potential in the world. Despite 11,800km of coastline and the possibility to produce between 40-70KWh per meter, we do not currently use even 1% of this free, powerful resource. With the increased demand for energy over the next 50 years, Renewable Wave Power (RWP) is attempting to resurrect the situation with a new and efficient power take-off structure.
RWP is a semi-submersible multi axis wave energy converter, specifically designed to run in the Orkneys, Scotland. The design has the unique ability to absorb forces from the peaks and troughs of the North Atlantic waves in any given direction. The multi axis structure's test results highlighted the increased potential and efficiency to convert external movements into hydraulic pressure, compared to conventional linear devices.
Inspiration for the project came from a variety of sources. Firstly, personal awareness that there simply must be alternative energy generation sources in the mainstream energy production industry if we are to avoid destroying the landscape that we live in. Secondly, kitesurfing and sailing off the west coast of Cumbria has shown the sheer power within waves and the real potential for energy generation. Finally, diving trips in the Orkneys has put the worlds wave and tidal development technology at the European Marine Energy Centre firmly in mind.
In addition, living in the Lake District, it is easy to see why developing renewable energy is vital. The global environmental, social, and political effects will continue to slowly escalate if renewable energy does not start to play a bigger part in the energy production scene.
RWP has undergone multiple simulations, CAD iterations, and a 40th scale fully functional prototype. Testing at Lancaster University’s wave tank proved the multi axis structures principles while displaying promising results for energy generation using the new and unique structure. The hydraulic power take-off system is a proven design capable of reacting and changing valve states in respect of the sea state. This variable setup allows the maximum energy to be harvested from the ocean in any given sea condition.
Wave data recorded from a data buoy in the Orkneys was scaled and propagated down the wave tank to provide scaled wave heights and wave lengths in which to test the structure. A further successful round of tests to verify the initial results will see the commission of a scaled hydraulic test rig to develop and refine the hydraulic geometry for the structure. Beyond the hydraulic development, RWP will enroll on the European Marine Energy Centre's Nursery Program for sea trials.