Pelamis Completes Testing of Its Wave Energy Converter in Plymouth

Pelamis, marine renewable energy developer, has completed a two-week testing program of its patented wave energy converter in Plymouth University’s COAST laboratory.

The Edinburgh-based company, with their research collaborator University College Cork, conducted performance experiments on a scale model of a Pelamis wave energy converter under extreme wave loadings.

The testing was part of the European FP7 project GeoWAVE, (Geotechnical design solutions for offshore renewable wave energy industry), which is working to developing a new generation mooring system for wave energy converters at reduced costs of the materials, installation and maintenance.

Dr. Chris Retzler, Principal Scientist at Pelamis, said: “We had a good two weeks testing and successfully completed everything we hoped to do. I was impressed not just by the quality of the wave tank and its instrumentation (such as the wave-gauging and the motion tracking of our model) but also by its usability.

“The movable floor in particular substantially improved turnaround: we were able to interrupt tests, make changes to the model and be running waves again in a satisfyingly short time. We obtained good results fast – aided by solid technical support from the wave tank staff.”

The COAST (Coastal Ocean and Sediment Transport) laboratory, with flumes, a 15.5-metre long Coastal Basin, and the 35-metre Ocean Basin with recirculating current generation is housed within the Marine Building. The £19 million centre is at the heart of the South West Marine Energy Park, and is being used by a range of international companies to test marine renewable energy devices.

Dr. Stuart Stripling, COAST Laboratory Scientific Manager, said: “The presence of such a high-profile WEC developer in Pelamis here at the University’s COAST lab, and their planned return visits later in the year, demonstrates the importance and quality of the facilities offered here at Plymouth in furthering the Marine Renewables industry. The COAST laboratory management and operational team is very proud to host such prestigious clients.”

Chris Retzler added: “The importance of scale testing facilities to the industry cannot be overstated. Being able to create scale sea states with the significant addition of tidal currents allows clients to test in conditions that realistically model the coastal ocean and gives confidence that full-scale machines will perform as expected.”

Six full-scale Pelamis machines have been built and operated to date, including two of the latest generation Pelamis design, the P2. The team is set to return for more testing in Plymouth in the spring.

Cornwall will be well represented at the upcoming Renewable UK Wave and Tidal Exhibition in Belfast on 26-27 February, where representatives from key wave and tidal projects in the South West will be on hand to discuss the region’s offerings in the renewable energy industry.

Press Release, February 25, 2014; Image: Pelamis


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