Tank tests ahead of EMEC deployment

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Laminaria’s wave energy converter has undergone tank testing as the Belgian company prepares for full-scale trials at the European Marine Energy Centre in Orkney.

The tests, involving a scale model of the device, took place at the Coastal, Ocean and Sediment Transport (COAST) laboratory at Plymouth University, as part of the LAMWEC project.

Funded under the OCEANERA-NET First Joint Call 2014, in association with Scottish Enterprise, Innovate UK, and IWT, LAMWEC is aimed at developing and testing a full-size 200 kilowatt (kW) Laminaria wave energy converter (WEC).

As a key challenge for the wave energy sector is the survivability of WECs in extreme storm conditions, the main focus of LAMWEC is to prove the survivability of a pre-commercial scale device, which incorporates Laminaria’s innovative load management mechanism and storm protection system.

Leading the design simulations work package for LAMWEC, marine energy engineering company Innosea tested a sixteenth scale model at COAST to explore the load regimes that the device will experience when it is tested at full-scale at EMEC in 2017.

Rémy Pascal, specialist engineer at Innosea, oversaw the tests. He said: “The tank tests provided insight into the optimum size of the device in regard to site specific wave conditions for overall performance.

“Most crucially, we found that the device performance at the EMEC wave test site could be significantly improved by using a larger device than the one initially planned for before the tank tests.”

Laminaria’s chief executive officer Steven Nauwelaerts added that the results of the tank tests have provided confidence in the concept of the survival mechanism – a key element of the LAMWEC design.

“The results from these tests will be invaluable to the other work packages in the LAMWEC project, informing the development of the anchor system, moorings, storm protection system, and PTO.

“A great start for a very exciting project.”

A video of the tank tests is available here.

Contact Information

c/o Maureen Shearer, Development Manager, HIE, 14 Queen Street, Kirkwall
KW15 1JE Scotland

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