Fortum and Sitra, the Finnish Innovation Fund have increased their funding in the wave energy technology developed by the Finnish company AW-Energy Oy. With this funding AW-Energy commences the development of the commercial scale WaveRoller device as well as ensures the completion of operational testing of the 3 x 100kW demonstration plant recently deployed in Peniche, Portugal.
The WaveRoller is a submerged wave energy converter, based on a hinged panel that is attached to the sea bed in the near shore area. It generates electricity from the back and forth movement of the waves (surge phenomenon) and is connected to the electric grid on the shore.
The goal of the development is to commercialise WaveRoller technology and to increase the production of wave energy.
The increased funding is a show of confidence in the WaveRoller technology which is developed and extensively patented by AW-Energy. Fortum and Sitra started collaborating with AW-Energy in 2008 and wave power is an important part of Fortum’s R&D work related to sustainable energy solutions.
”Investments in developing renewable energy production, like wave and solar power, are an important part of our strategy implementation. Sustainability is at the core of Fortum’s strategy – we believe that energy production in the future Solar Economy will be based on an efficient energy system and on energy produced directly or indirectly from the sun,” says Per Langer, Executive Vice President of Fortum, explaining the reasoning behind the decision to continue financial support.
Apart from AW-Energy, Fortum is also building one of the world’s largest wave power project on the Swedish west coast, and has formed a partnership with French naval company DCNS to develop and test wave power in France.
“The future belongs to renewable energy and we need innovative technological approaches, like AW- Energy’s WaveRoller. Sustainable energy will play a crucial role in the future energy market,” says Director Sami Tuhkanen from Sitra.
AW-Energy has also recently received a positive funding decision from TEKES, the Finnish Funding Agency for Technoloy and Innovation. With combined funding from TEKES, Fortum and Sitra, AW-Energy has secured 7.3 MEUR to plan and design next generation commercial scale 500kW WaveRoller device.
”The WaveRoller technology has many advantages such as low visual impact and relative constant electricity output,” explains John Liljelund, CEO of AW-Energy.
“The collaboration with Fortum, Sitra and Tekes enables AWE further industrialization of the technology and to follow the development path towards the pre-commercial projects that are now under negotiations,” he adds.
In addition to Fortum and Sitra, the other owners of AW-Energy are Aura Capital Oy, John Nurminen Oy, Hytar Oy and a number of private investors.
Press Release, September 03, 2012; Image: AW-Energy