The upgraded H24-50 wave energy unit, developed by 40South Energy and deployed off Marina di Pisa in Italy, has started producing power for the country’s electricity grid.
The upgrade activities on the H24 wave energy machine – first deployed in 2015 – have culminated in the commissioning of the device that fed its first power to the grid on September 13, 2018, according to Michele Grassi, the CEO of 40South Energy.
After the necessary modifications to the authorizations and documentation due to changes in machine properties, 40South Energy Italia engaged its partner Elements Works for the implementation of the new solutions on the H24-50 unit at the end of 2017.
The device, the first of the H24 series designed and built by 40South Energy, was deployed at Ligurian Sea for the first time in November 2015. During the deployment, the device was converting wave energy into electricity, but dissipated the generated power locally instead of feeding it into the grid.
“This result brings commercial viability of wave energy conversion one step closer and puts 40South Energy Italia at the forefront of the global race to harness this new renewable energy source,” said Grassi.
The machine reached a technology readiness level (TRL) 7 – which denotes the complete validation of the design at full-scale, and in a realistic environment.
In November 2016, the H24-50 unit was bought by Enel Green Power, as part of an agreement which allows 40South Energy Italia to keep using it as a testing platform for its R&D activities.
40South Energy Italia remains the sole owner of the IP associated to all its wave energy converters, according to the company.
During 2017, 40South Energy Italia designed and built a number of upgrades for the H24-50 machine type, to bring it closer to the TRL 8, which corresponds to commercially viable device.
The R&D activities on the H24-50 design will now continue, according to 40South Energy, which aims to complete the design and deploy the first unit of a commercial H24-50 machine at sea during the next few months.