Fronds Study Promotes Wave Energy Converter

The Frond Project Team from Engeneering Business Limited (EB), based in Northumberland, England, has been refining the design of its Wave Energy Converter with a test program in the wave tank at Lancaster University. Using a modular test frame, the engineers have tested 13 different 1/20 scale models of the Frond wave energy collector in order to evaluate the optimum design.

Northumberland, England – June 18, 2004 [] Results of the test program confirm the predictions from the team’s mathematical modeling, though detailed information on the results has not been released. Project Manager Andrew Laurie said the team hopes to incorporate the findings from the technical and feasibility study into the design, and establish funding to build of an intermediate scale demonstrator in late 2004. EB’s Frond wave energy converters are designed to generate electricity from wave motion. A frond is a seabed mounted, near-shore device. Units are designed for installation in 20 to 35 meters of water. The large, paddle-like, buoyant surface of the collector is placed in the path of the wave direction, and just above the sea surface. This collector is carried on the end of a long lever and oscillates due to wave action. The lower end of the lever turns on a pivot and drives a hydraulic power take-off system, housed in the base unit. In extreme conditions the whole system passively reacts to limit the forces in the device and to ensure survival. Frond is intelligently controlled to optimize power extraction from a range of wave sizes and periods, and to be able to survive extreme storm conditions.

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