Human heartbeat could shake-up wave power generation

A new technology inspired by the human body may have the ability to revolutionise the wave power sector, according to test results revealed on Friday.

Extensive tank testing has revealed that the ‘HiWave’ Wave Energy Converter, which is based on the pumping principles of the human heart, is able to deliver five times higher wave energy absorption than previously developed wave power technologies.

The new technology has been designed by a European sustainable technology consortium that includes global power company Iberdrola Engineering, in partnership with researchers from the Royal Institute of Technology of Stockholm and The Norwegian University of Science and Technology.

Higher predictability

The €6m project is aiming to establish a new generation of cost-competitive wave power for off-grid and utility-scale energy generation. The project is currently at pilot stage but is expected to have half scale ocean deployment in 2016 and full scale demonstration by late 2017.

“HiWave is a hugely exciting technological breakthrough in the wave power space,” project investor KIC InnoEnergy CEO Diego Pavia said. “The implications of this are vast. HiWave has the power to decrease Europe’s energy bill, while significantly reducing our carbon footprint.”

Consortium member CorPower Ocean’s chief executive Patrik Möller added: “Ocean waves are a huge and untapped resource of clean energy,”: “They possess an energy density several times greater than solar and higher predictability compared to wind.

“Wave power could potentially cover more than 10 per cent of the world’s energy demand. The oceans offer a truly hostile environment and we still have a lot of work ahead of us, but the efficiency improvement shown with WaveSpring may be just what is needed to make wave power competitive.”

Joint Vision

Last month, another new marine technology was successfully trialled. The CableFish is attached to subsea power cables pre-installation, and carries the cable down to the seabed. It allows for installation in tides up to six knots, triple the current limit, and could lower installation costs for offshore technologies (both wind and wave) by 75%.

Also last month Renewable UK supported existing calls from the Marine Energy Programme Board (MEPB) for the UK, Scottish and Welsh governments and Northern Ireland Executive to provide a joint vision of the role of marine energy up to 2030 and beyond.

It also calls for a co-ordinated £300m – the amount of support identified by the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult – finance package from public and private sources to support the industry.

The Scottish Government also announced in February £14.3m funding over the next 13 months for Wave Energy Scotland (WES) to support wave energy in Scotland.

Lucinda Dann

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