'Archimedes Waveswing': 20 years of research leads to successful trials of this wave energy converter

The device recorded average power above 10kW and peaks over 80kW during a period of moderate wave conditions.
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Archimedes Waveswing.
Archimedes Waveswing.

AWS Ocean Energy 

A Scottish marine energy company has tested a novel wave energy conversion technology device called "Archimedes Waveswing," in Orkney, northeastern coast of Scotland.

The European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC), a testing facility, observed "encouraging" results from the current phase of sea trials of the wave energy technology, according to a press statement issued by the firm AWS Ocean Energy on Tuesday.

"These figures underline our strong belief that Waveswing is the real deal. While we have always been confident about the performance potential of the Waveswing, it is wonderful to see that confidence endorsed by real data," said Simon Grey, CEO of AWS Ocean Energy.

"We believe this performance compares very favorably with equivalent figures for any previous wave device tested on the same site."

'Archimedes Waveswing': 20 years of research leads to successful trials of this wave energy converter
Waveswing on-station underwater in Scapa Flow, Orkney.

During the tests, the 50 metric ton, Waveswing wave energy converter recorded average power above 10kW and peaks over 80kW during a period of moderate wave conditions, constituting a significant high point of the scientific testing program so far.

These numbers were 20 percent higher than AWS's expectations, claims the company.

"We are now actively seeking discussions with commercialization partners, other end users, and anyone who is genuinely interested in developing commercial wave power," said Grey.

"This includes for example sponsored testing programs so that partners can get to know the Waveswing and its potential up close."

What is Archimedes Waveswing?

The pressure-activated sub-sea buoy, wave energy converter, is claimed to be the most promising idea for the industrial production of renewable energy from ocean waves. It is the product of 20 years of research and development, as per the company website.

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The equipment, which has been dubbed a "submerged wave power buoy," is 7 meters tall and has a diameter of 4 meters.

The Waveswing differs fundamentally from existing wave power concepts and has a much higher potential for power capture than floating objects of comparable size.

The device could function in extreme weather

Waveswing can withstand challenging conditions in an offshore setting because of its sub-sea position and capacity to winch deep below storm waves. The device could function in more extreme circumstances, including Force 10 gales, claims the company.

"The Waveswing features a single absorber design, with unique features which make it ideal for remote power applications such as powering subsea oilfield assets and oceanographic monitoring," said Grey.

The onboard winch and quick-connect anchor attachment enable self-installation, while the single-point tension tether minimizes mooring spread.

The innovative operational concept and clever algorithms generate industry-leading power capture per ton of structure, reducing expenses.

However, "for utility-scale power, we are convinced the future lies in multi-absorber platforms which can achieve the scale necessary for wave power to make a significant contribution to renewable energy supplies," stated Grey.

"We expect to develop platforms hosting up to twenty 500 kW units with a potential capacity of 10 MW per platform."

The testing phase is expected to be finished before the end of the year, and additional testing is anticipated to begin in 2023.

The £3.4 million (U.S. $3.8 million) prototype development project was financed by Wave Energy Scotland as part of the Novel Wave Energy Converter development program and with assistance from the Ocean DEMO project of Interreg North-West Europe.

Ocean Energy - Europe

Ocean Energy Europe (OEE) reported that 2.2 megawatts of tidal stream capacity were installed in Europe last year, compared to barely 260 kilowatts in 2020, in data that was made public in March 2022.

681 kW were added for wave energy, which OEE said was a threefold increase. Globally, 3.12 MW of tidal stream capacity was added in 2021, while 1.38 MW of wave energy went online.

Europe installed 17.4 gigawatts of wind power capacity in 2021, according to the data from the trade association WindEurope.

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