Marine Power Systems (MPS) has completed the assembly and commissioning of its PowerBuoy – a grid simulator designed to operate alongside the quarter-scale prototype WaveSub wave energy converter.
The PowerBuoy will enable MPS to analyze the WaveSub’s energy generational capacity across a broad range of sea states, the Swansea-based wave energy developer informed.
Located at marine test site FaBTest in Cornwall, the assembly and commissioning of the PowerBuoy precedes the installation of the quarter-scale WaveSub at the site, expected to begin in the coming weeks.
Designed by MPS with support from with British and Irish contractors including LCF Marine, Fibaform, SevernSubsea, Seawide Services and MjR – the PowerBuoy will be connected to the WaveSub by a power umbilical.
The PowerBuoy will be capable of recording and collating key data sets, transmitting them back to shore for analysis as well as allowing the device to be remotely operated from land, according to MPS.
Sebastian Perry, Test Engineer at MPS, said: “The PowerBuoy will play a critical role during this energy generation test phase by enabling us to optimize the WaveSub’s position in the water column remotely and to harvest data on the WaveSub’s power output response.”
A Wave Data Buoy, also deployed at the FaBTest site and operating independently of the PowerBuoy, will relay information on the current sea state to the MPS team on shore.
It will allow MPS to make valued comparisons of power output from actual sea states with advanced modelling simulations from desk-based studies and tank testing data.
Data from the Wave Data Buoy will also inform the location within the water column for the WaveSub to be maneuvered, to optimize power-generation.
For the last decade, MPS has developed the WaveSub using more than £5m of funding secured through private investment and highly competitive grants.
The UK wave energy sector is currently seen as world leading, and in a recent ORE Catapult report it was predicted to be worth a net cumulative benefit to the UK of £4 billion, employing over 8,000 people by 2040.