AquaBuOY Wave Energy Technology Advances

The emerging wave energy sector is moving ahead with a project led by Finavera Renewables Ltd. and Dunlop Oil and Marine — supported by a Carbon Trust Applied Research Grant. A key part of AquaEnergy’s AquaBuOY technology, the Hose-Pump Validation Project, is an offshore wave energy converter whose successful completion marks the next step in its commercialization.

The Hose-Pump is part of the AquaBuOY wave energy technology from AquaEnergy Development UK Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of Finavera Renewables. The hollow elastic cylinder can pump fluid when it is extended and contracted; when connected to a buoy, wave action can be harnessed to produce pressurized fluid via cyclic extensions. Multiple devices coupled to a standard hydropower turbine and generator provide a complete conversion solution, from wave energy to electricity. The focus for this joint AquaEnergy and Dunlop Oil and Marine project, co-funded by the Carbon Trust’s Applied Research Program, was to assess the Hose-Pump’s mechanical and fatigue properties. The outcome of the project has successfully confirmed theoretical prediction of the Hose-Pump operating characteristic under static and dynamic test conditions. The Carbon Trust provided a grant of GBP 168,000 [US $317,000] for this phase of commercialization to bring the technology to full-scale deployment. Finavera Renewables’ planned first European project is a staged 100-megawatt (MW) deployment at Figuera de Foz, Portugal. “The World Energy Council estimates that there is an accessible resource of 2 terawatts of renewable, clean energy available in the world’s oceans,” said Jason Bak, Finavera Renewables CEO. “This is a potential resource equivalent to twice of the world’s current electricity generation.” Bak added, “In the U.S. alone, the available wave energy resource is estimated at 2,300 terawatt-hours per year or US$80.5 billion annually. Finavera Renewables is aggressively moving towards capturing this sustainable source of ocean energy in an economic way.”

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