Marine Power Systems (MPS), a wave power technology development company based in Wales, UK, said it will unveil its quarter-scale, prototype WaveSub wave energy generator, marking its move to a new, sea-based phase of its development.
Designed to operate around 10 kilometers from shore, the WaveSub wave energy generator harnesses the continual orbital motion of waves under the surface of the sea. The device is said to have the potential to move forward the burgeoning marine energy industry by generating reliable, affordable wave power.
At full scale, each 100 metres long, 5-megawatt (MW) device will have a similar power output to a very large offshore wind turbine, able to power approximately 5,000 homes. Scaled up, extensive modelling shows that 100 WaveSub devices would provide a power output of 500MW, equivalent to 500,000 homes or a city the size of San Francisco.
MPS believe that with continued support and investment, wave energy will, in time, be in a position to compete favourably with offshore wind.
Following the launch of the WaveSub quarter scale device in Wales, UK, the WaveSub will be towed down the coast to Cornwall, England, where it will be deployed at the marine energy test site FaBTest. Here, MPS will demonstrate the WaveSub’s power-generation capacity across a broad range of sea conditions, the speed and cost-effective price at which it can be installed, its maintenance costs and its survivability through the harshest of conditions. Over the last nine years MPS has developed the WaveSub using more than £5 million of funding secured through private investment and highly competitive grants.
Dr Gareth Stockman, CEO of Marine Power Systems commented: “Following a dynamic phase of early pioneer exploration in wave power, the industry has learnt many lessons and is now moving forward with speed and confidence to take a meaningful position in the global shift to 100% renewable energy. We believe the world is on course to get 10% of its electricity from wave power by 2050. The WaveSub has the ability to overcome what MPS has identified as the four main challenges of generating energy at sea. This includes its unique energy capture capabilities, resilience in even the harshest of weather conditions and technical set-up for quick, low cost maintenance and transportability. These features will bring down the cost of wave power generation so that in time it can compete favourably with the generation costs of offshore wind.”
As it moves into a new phase of testing, MPS is launching an investment opportunity to enable it to move into the final stages of development; the testing of a full-scale multi-MW WaveSub. With investment in place, MPS will be on track to begin installation of a grid connected wave farm by 2020.