Offshore Wave Energy Device To Generate Renewable Energy

The Manchester Bobber, a patented new wave energy device, passed Phase One last January — testing of 1/100th scale working model — and now Phase Two will involve testing a 1/10th scale device at the New & Renewable Energy Centre (NaREC).

The device uses the rise and fall (or bobbing) of the water surface. The movement transmits energy, which is then extracted by the mechanics to drive a generator and produce electricity. The vision is to have a series of Bobbers working together to generate electricity. One concept being explored is the use of decommissioned offshore rigs as platforms for the devices. “Offshore wave energy represents a substantial concentrated ‘green’ energy source for an island state like the UK. Energy from the sea may be extracted in many ways and harnessing the energy from the bobbing motion of the sea is not a new idea. It is the hydrodynamics of the float employed by the Manchester Bobber that provides the vital connection to generating electricity,” said Peter Stansby, Professor of Hydrodynamics at The University of Manchester and co-inventor of the Manchester Bobber with Dr. Alan Williamson. Its vulnerable mechanical and electrical components are housed in a protected environment well above sea level, which makes for ease of accessibility. Its mechanical and electrical components are readily available, resulting in high reliability and more sophisticated components. It will respond to waves from any direction without requiring adjustment. It can maintain and repair specific Bobber generators (independent of others in a linked group) meaning that generation supply to the network can continue uninterrupted. Mowlem plc and Royal Haskoning are developing and costing conceptual designs for a full-scale platform. Phase Three will involve a full-scale prototype being constructed and tested in parallel with detailed costing and engineering design for the optimum full scale concept from Phase Two. The device, which was showcased at NaREC in Northumberland in September, was developed by the University of Manchester and the University of Manchester Intellectual Property Limited (UMIP), in partnership with Mowlem plc and Royal Haskoning. The project team sees the Manchester Bobber as a key international development at the forefront of the renewable energy sector.

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