The vision of a standardised offshore electricity generator for the wave industry reached a significant milestone this week when the WavePOD prototype produced its first power in laboratory tests.
The tenth-scale WavePOD was officially switched on by David Waldron, Bosch Rexroth’s UK Business Manager for Machinery Applications and Renewables, to mark the start of the test programme at the world-leading Institute for Fluid Power Drives and Controls (IFAS) at RWTH Aachen University, Germany.
The prototype, which comprises a drive train, cylinder frame and power take off, has been developed by Bosch Rexroth and Aquamarine Power as part of a collaboration including some of Europe’s leading wave energy developers, utilities and academic institutions. The goal is to develop an industry-wide power take off that will generate electricity reliably and cost-effectively at sea.
“We have already learned a tremendous amount through the design, build and commissioning of this WavePOD prototype,” says Aquamarine Power Chief Executive Officer John Malcom. “We are now generating electrical power, and the drive train is using real-life hydrodynamic data from Oyster 800 to ensure the power take off is experiencing exactly the same loads it would encounter at sea.
“We aim to finish lab testing by March next year and plan to install a further prototype in real sea conditions on our Oyster 800 machine in Orkney in 2016,” Malcom concludes.
The WavePOD prototype development and testing programme receives funding support from the Scottish Government’s Marine Renewables Commercialisation Fund (MRCF), managed by the Carbon Trust.
Consortium partners include project founders Aquamarine Power and Bosch Rexroth, along with wave technology developers Albatern, Carnegie Wave Energy UK and M4 WavePower. It also includes Irish utility ESB, the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult, IFAS and University College Dublin’s Energy Research Centre.