Wave Swell validates wave energy device

Illustration/WSE’s device under tests at the Australian Maritime College (Photo: AMC)

Australian wave energy developer Wave Swell Energy (WSE) has completed the validation of its wave energy device in a wider range of water depths.

During December 2017, WSE conducted detailed testing of its wave energy technology at the Australian Maritime College (AMC), part of the University of Tasmania.

The aim of the testing was to quantitatively validate the performance, and wave loads on the planned 200kW peak demonstration unit proposed for King Island.

The 200kW demonstration unit, being in shallower water of 5.75 meters depth, was expected to exhibit a lower output per meter of device width than its deeper 10-meter counterpart.

While this proved to be the case, the reduction in power production per unit width was less than expected, according to WSE.

“In fact, it is likely shallower water projects using the WSE technology may often turn out to be more cost effective than deeper installations when the lower cost of constructing and deploying a shallower water device is factored into the cost-benefit equation,” WSE said in a statement.

Prior to the tank tests, the expectation was the company would begin its commercial phase providing a Levelised Cost of Energy (LCOE) below 10 cents per kWh. However, this expectation has now been enhanced, WSE noted.

WSE said that the validation of the device in shallower waters opens up a much wider range of ‘real estate’ in which the technology can be commercially viable.

The company’s device is based on the oscillating water column concept, which acts like an artificial blowhole with water rising and falling inside a chamber.

WSE plans to deploy a 200kW version of the technology later this year, ahead of the installation of a full-sized 1MW version, planned for the west side of the King Island.

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