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Pioneering wave power device developed in Inverness docks in Orkney

© Supplied by EMECInverness-based AWS Ocean Energy's Archimedes Waveswing wave energy converter at Copland's Dock in Stromness. Orkney.
Inverness-based AWS Ocean Energy's Archimedes Waveswing wave energy converter at Copland's Dock in Stromness. Orkney.

A new wave energy converter, developed by Inverness-based AWS Ocean Energy, has arrived in Orkney ahead of its deployment at the European Marine Energy Centre (Emec).

The 16 kW Archimedes Waveswing travelled to Orkney by ferry following a period of dry testing undertaken by the AWS engineering team at Muir of Ord.

Weighing in at 50 tons, the 23-foot high, 13-foot wide device is now being readied for deployment at Emec’s Scapa Flow test site in February.

The device will be moored to the seabed and sit below the surface of the sea, reacting to changes in pressure caused by passing waves.

The Waveswing is designed to react to long ocean swell waves as well as short, wind-driven seas, for high energy capture. Its is also designed to operate in rough sea conditions.

The £3.4 million prototype project has been funded by the Scottish Government’s Wave Energy Scotland (WES) as part of the Novel Wave Energy Converter development programme.

The demonstration at Emec is also supported by the €13 million Interreg North-West Europe’s Ocean DEMO project.

Simon Grey, chief executive of of AWS Ocean Energy said: “This is another major step forward in the development programme, underlining our confidence that the Waveswing really is the best prospect for practical, affordable wave power.

“The whole team at AWS is looking forward to getting our at-sea testing programme underway at Emec.”

It is envisaged the device will be used for a number of applications, from powering oil rigs and platforms to supporting ocean research.

“Our current Waveswing design focuses on remote power applications such as powering subsea oilfield assets and oceanographic monitoring, however the device is suitable for integration into submerged platforms and can be scaled to over 500 kW per unit,” Grey said.

AWS expect to develop the device to produce a potential capacity of 10 MW.

“The exciting thing about Waveswing is that it’s genuinely scalable and practical to integrate into a multi-absorber platform,” he said,

“Achieving power outputs comparable with offshore wind units is critical to driving down the cost of energy and ensuring that operation and maintenance is practicable in the hostile marine environment.”

Tim Hurst, managing director of WES said: “The sea trials of the AWS Waveswing device represent the culmination of Wave Energy Scotland’s Novel Wave Energy Converter Programme.

“The design offers a number of attractive innovations for a commercial market, and we are excited that these will soon be demonstrated in a real sea environment.”

Harsh conditions

Neil Kermode, managing director, Emec said: “Real sea deployment is a vital step in proving performance, reliability and survivability of these devices.

“We know that prototype testing at sea is really valuable to technology developers to check how a technology and its components work and react in the environment prior to scaling up.

“We are looking forward to helping the team as they prove how to install, operate and maintain their exciting machine in Orkney’s harsh conditions.”

The Waveswing development programme has been supported by a strong, predominantly Scottish team of subcontractors including 4c Engineering and Quoceant on design, Sequentec on supply of the control system, Malin Marine for the main build and assembly work, and JGC Engineering for fabrication of the anchor frame.

International subcontractors include Trelleborg for supply of the rolling seal and SRP Subsea for supply of the Rocksteady mooring connector.

Marine operations for deployment of the device will be carried out by Stromness-based Green Marine.

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