Global Maritime Consultancy & Engineering is to provide mooring and risk management support to the European Union’s OPERA (Open Sea Operating Experience to Reduce Wave Energy Cost) project.
Global Maritime is part of a 12-member consortium led by TECNALIA for the three-and-a-half-year program with the objective being to progress offshore wave energy development, reduce costs, and ‘de-risk’ new technologies.
As part of the project, Global Maritime will be responsible for providing mooring and risk management support to the 42 meter-tall spar type, wave energy converter (WEC) due to be operational in August 2016. The WEC will be based in the Bay of Biscay up to two nautical miles offshore in 85 meters of water.
David Sutton, CEO of Global Maritime Consultancy & Engineering, said: “Wave and tidal energy is a tremendously important element of the future energy mix with the World Energy Council estimating that up to 10% of worldwide electricity demand could be met by harvesting ocean energy. And yet today, wave energy costs remain high compared to conventional forms of energy.”
“That’s why OPERA is such a ground-breaking project and why Global Maritime is delighted to be involved in the mooring and risk management element. For the first time, the wave energy industry will be able to access high quality, open-sea operating data, see some of the latest mooring and other technology innovations tested offshore, and look forward to long-term cost reductions of up to 50%.”
Inside the WEC is an oscillating water column (OWC) that forces air through a turbine that in turn generates electricity. The WEC has been developed by OCEANTEC and will use a novel shared mooring arrangement consisting of conventional tethers. The shared mooring system is designed to reduce the overall amount of mooring lines, share anchors and reduce costs. Global Maritime will help ensure that the mooring system is robust, delivering telemetry and tension data; and carry out operational simulations, if required.
As the project continues into phase two in August 2017, Global Maritime will then help support the testing and integrating of further cost reducing innovations into the WEC. These include an elastomeric mooring tether, developed by the University of Exeter and which will reduce peak loads at mooring and hull connections. This should improve structural survivability and reduce mooring line strength requirements and costs.