The Energy Technologies Institute (ETI) has announced plans to take wave energy to the next level with a project to design and demonstrate a low-cost wave energy converter system.
Marine energy technologies have the potential to play an important role with other offshore renewables in enabling the UK to meet its long-term CO2 emissions reductions targets given the significant natural energy resources available within UK waters.
Extracting energy from waves using wave energy converters (WECs) is one method of exploiting the energy potential of the waters around the UK.
To do this effectively, these machines need to be able to capture as much energy as possible from the waves whilst withstanding the often very harsh environment associated with deployment at sea.
The long-term viability of wave energy depends on it becoming competitive with other low-carbon energy sources including wind power as quickly as possible through the significant reduction of energy delivery costs.
Dr David Clarke, chief executive of the ETI said: “Wave energy offers a potential clean energy source for the UK without needing to import fuel but we need to ensure that it is affordable and competitive with other technologies. There are many competing concepts being developed but none yet demonstrate a clear route to large scale commercial deployment.
“For wave energy to realise its potential there will need to be reductions in the costs of building, installing and operating the devices and associated infrastructure, as well as improvements to device technical performance and reliability.”
“This project will identify the areas major improvements could be made and, if as we hope, significant savings can be demonstrated, the intention is that we will invest in the development and demonstration of them.”
The project will be commissioned in two phases, the first providing a fully detailed design concept for a wave energy converter system capable of delivering at least 10MW of power before a second phase where the new innovations are developed and demonstrated at full scale at sea.
It will also assess the potential market opportunities of the technologies in the UK and abroad.
The ETI is looking for teams that have a broad range of skills including device developers and engineering and technology development companies from a range of industries with the experience and expertise to demonstrate a step-change in cost improvements.
A Request for Proposals (RfP) has been issued for organisations wanting to get involved in the project. More details are available at http://www.energytechnologies.co.uk/Home/Technology-Programmes
The deadline for the notification of intention to submit a proposal is 2 December 2011, and all proposals must be received by 25 January 2012.
It is expected the project will start in summer 2012, with the first phase lasting around 12 months.