Ocean Energy Limited, Ireland’s leading wave energy company, is working with Wave Hub, the world’s largest grid connected offshore marine energy test site, to deploy its technology at the site later this year.
Cork-based Ocean Energy, in collaboration with its partner Dresser-Rand, one of the largest global suppliers of custom-engineered rotating equipment solutions, expects to deploy a full-scale device at Wave Hub by the end of this year having tested a quarter scale prototype of its OE Buoy in Galway Bay for three years.
This means that two of Wave Hub’s four berths off Hayle on the north coast of Cornwall in South West England have now been reserved. US and UK-based Ocean Power Technologies (OPT) has already signed a commitment agreement to deploy its PowerBuoy device.
Wave Hub will match fund some of Ocean Energy’s deployment costs up to a maximum of £1 million, following a competition last year for device developers able to deploy in 2012. This includes the cost of securing a Marine Licence and installation of moorings and deployment.
Wave Hub general manager Claire Gibson said: “I am pleased to confirm our partnership with Ocean Energy Limited and look forward to assisting them with their deployment at Wave Hub later this year. Ocean Energy has completed three years of prototype testing in energetic sea conditions and is ready to make the next step to Wave Hub with a full scale device. If the testing goes well we expect to see Ocean Energy deploy an array of devices at Wave Hub.
“By supporting Ocean Energy’s deployment now we can fully test our operational procedures and establish the process for securing a Marine Licence. This will support and accelerate further deployments at Wave Hub.”
John McCarthy, chief executive and co-founder of Ocean Energy said: “We are delighted to have been chosen by Wave Hub to deploy our technology at their Hayle facility. Cornwall has been to the forefront in developing and incubating the wave energy sector and is well placed to reap the rewards of this foresight with an excellent range of services available locally.”
He said that the rigorous testing and proven survivability of Ocean Energy’s technology was a key driver in winning this opportunity for their device.
Ocean Energy will now consider fabricating its 1.5 MW device locally.
Ocean Energy’s OE Buoy uses the oscillating water column principle. As waves enter a subsea chamber they force air through a turbine on the surface, generating electricity. As the waves recede they cause a vacuum, drawing air back through the turbine. Ocean Energy’s technology means the turbine rotates continuously regardless of the direction of the airflow. This improves efficiency and means it only has one moving part, minimising maintenance costs.
Dresser-Rand and Ocean Energy Limited already have a memorandum of understanding to develop a full range of full-scale devices to produce commercial electricity. Dresser-Rand developed and patented the HydroAir™ turbine – a variable radius turbine that uses a combination of stainless steel, aluminium and reinforced composites to resist corrosion. The turbine is constructed to withstand the rigors of a marine environment, and demonstrates higher levels of efficiency when compared to existing impulse designs across a wide range of incident flows.
This announcement follows South West England’s recent designation as the UK’s first Marine Energy Park.