Welsh wave power company Marine Power Systems announced last week that it had successfully installed its prototype WaveSub wave energy converter at the English marine test centre FaBTest, marking another step in the evolution of the company’s technology.
Marine Power Systems was founded back in 2008 by Swansea University engineering graduates Dr Gareth Stockman and Dr Graham Foster, who wanted to develop and bring to market their WaveSub wave energy converter. The WaveSub is designed to operate around 10 kilometers from the shore and, instead of utilizing the energy generated atop the surface of the water by the movement of waves, WaveSub is intended to operate below the surface of the water, harvesting the continual orbital motion of waves under the surface.
The prototype WaveSub was unveiled last November following 9 years of research and development and the backing of the Welsh desire to make wave energy work.
Marine Power Systems believes that wave power could contribute 10% of global electricity demand by 2050, according to a report it published in June of 2017, entitled Making Wave Power Work. Specifically, the company believes that upscaling wave energy technology could generate an estimated 4,000 terawatt-hours (TWh) of power annually.
Announced last week, WaveSub has been successfully installed at FaBTest, located within Falmouth Harbour, Cornwall, England. The self-described “nursery facility” stretches 2.8 square kilometers within Falmouth Bay, and provides developers with the opportunity to test components, concepts, or full-scale devices in a moderate wave climate. WaveSub made the journey to Falmouth Bay via a 169 nautical-mile tow from Milford Haven in Pembrokeshire, Wales, following a battery of tests that have been run all year — including tow tests, submergence tests, installation of the mooring system, and assembly and commissioning of the power buoy.
WaveSub will undergo final commissioning at FaBTest before being connected to the Power Buoy for in-depth energy generational capacity testing across a range of sea conditions.
“The successful installation of the WaveSub at FaBTest is another positive result for us, sitting within a suite of tests we have been running on the WaveSub over the first half of this year,” explained Dr Graham Foster, Chief Technology Officer at Marine Power Systems. “We will now focus our attention on moving the WaveSub through final commissioning with a view to commencing energy generation trials later this summer. This move to FaBTest is another step forwards for MPS, taking us further along the path to full-scale manufacture and commercial roll-out of the WaveSub.”
“The UK’s wave sector is currently world leading,” added Dr Gareth Stockman, CEO of Marine Power Systems. “With 35% of Europe’s wave resource lying here on our coastlines, we’re well placed to keep hold of this title. MPS believe that with continued support and investment, wave energy can grow to become a new source of low carbon power as well as being a significant contributor to the UK’s fast-growing renewables economy.
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