Wave Power Hybrid Unveiled in Scotland

Green Ocean Energy Ltd. has developed a wave power machine that attaches to an offshore wind turbine. The company says the economics of both machines are enhanced as infrastructure such as the foundation and cabling will now be shared.

The system, known as the Wave Treader, comprises sponsons, projections from the sides of a watercraft, for protection, stability, or the mounting of equipment, mounted on the end of arms both in front and behind the turbine’s column vertically mounted on the seabed. Hydraulic cylinders are attached between the arms and an interface structure and as the wave passes along the device the sponsons and arms lift and fall stroking the hydraulic cylinders.

The cylinders pressurize hydraulic fluid which, after smoothing by accumulators, spins hydraulic motors and then electric generators. The electricity is exported back to the shore through the same cables used by the wind turbines.

The device has been developed using the core concept of a stand-alone wave power device called Ocean Treader, which is also being developed by the company. Mounting the device on the foundation of an offshore wind turbine makes that technology more commercially viable because of the relatively low technical risk, they add.

Each Wave Treader machine generates approximately 500 kilowatts and can turn to face the direction of the wave train to ensure maximum operational efficiency. It also has active on-board adjustments to allow for the effects of tidal range and a 25-year design life.

The company was able to develop the device after securing £60,000 [US $89,702] of funding from npower’s Juice fund which supports wave and tidal technology development. A full size prototype could be ready for testing in 2010, the company says.


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