Aquamarine Power and the oyster wave energy harvesting system

Aquamarines_Oyster_under_water_power_generationAt the Water Waves in Industry Day, there were two talks on the “oyster” wave energy convertor (WEC), shown schematically to the left.  This device is rigidly attached to the sea floor and the induced oscillation from the waves is used to power fluid which is transported to shore for conversion to electricity.  A prototype is in place off the coast of Orkney, and the long term plan is to place oyster fields off the west coast of Ireland near Belmullet, Achill and Killard.  There were two talks on this WEC.  Frederic Dias, a Professor of Mathematics at University College Dublin, represented the academic side of the academic-industry partnership, and talked about a spectrum of theoretical models developed and how the theory output influenced the evolving design.  Of particular interest was high impact slamming which was an inadvertent outcome of the extension of the device out of the fluid.  In the second talk Ken Doherty, Research Manager in the Belfast Office of Aquamarine Power, gave the company perspective on the research and development.  He described some of the evolution of the design, power take off system, material, design life of the hydraulics and bearings, and buoyancy, including specifics of the prototype now in place.  A key point highlighted was the sensitivity of the WEC to the ambient wave environment, and how it reacted differently to spatial and temporal statistics. Videos of the Doherty and Dias talks are available here and here.

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