Catapults

PROJECTS

Seabased

Published 9 March 2021

Wave power is a consistent and reliable source of green energy that has an estimated theoretical potential of producing a 2,638 TWh/year and 325 TWh/year could be harnessed if the current level of technology development was fully deployed in European waters alone [1]. Waves build and release power slowly, making electricity generation highly predictable and easier to integrate into the grid. Wave energy can also be used in tandem with other renewable energy sources such as offshore wind, potentially reducing costs and increasing the value for both resources in a co-located power plant.

The Seabased Wave Power Park solution connects buoys on the water’s surface to linear generators called Wave Energy Converters (WECs) on the seabed, where they are protected from the turbulence above. Dense, powerful waves lift each buoy, raising a heavy, magnetised translator inside the WEC, producing power. The power from 20 WECs is channelled to a single 2MW marine substation that converts it to grid-ready electricity and delivers it, via standard subsea cables, to a grid connection point onshore.

The technology is modular, scaleable and can be installed quickly with light vessels and requires little maintenance. Additionally, no drilling or permanent installation is required, and the wave park is virtually invisible from the shore, so environmental impact is kept as low as possible. Studies have shown Seabased Wave Power Parks can also become artificial reefs that provide both habitat and breeding grounds for marine species.

Seabased and ORE Catapult

The size, force, and frequency of waves vary from one location to another. In order to produce the most power in a given wave climate, Seabased’s system needs to be optimised for that environment. This may involve decisions regarding spacing of the generators, the size of buoys used, and more. Seabased has joined forces with ORE Catapult to develop a software tool that will allow the accurate simulation of the Seabased wave system performance in different wave environments to inform those decisions.

Seabased CEO Laurent Albert said: “At this point in our commercialisation process, the opportunity to work with an industry leader with the knowledge, skills, and experience of ORE Catapult is essential. The world has waited a long time for wave energy to join other renewables in providing carbon-free power. As part of this technological breakthrough, we are committed to demonstrating, through precision science and engineering, the promise of wave power around the world and ORE Catapult is helping us do that.”

ORE Catapult’s Wave and Tidal  Energy Sector Lead, Simon Cheeseman, added: “It’s exciting to work with Seabased at this point in their optimisation and certification process. Seabased has already achieved several milestones in the development, testing, and preparation for an industrial ramp-up of its technology, and we’re pleased to be able to use our expertise to help advance its work in bringing wave energy into the renewables mix”

The collaboration is funded through the Interreg North Sea Region Ocean Energy Scale-Up Alliance (OESA) Pilot Accelerator Programme – a programme to support accelerated deployment and commercialisation of ocean energy technologies.

Optimisation – The Technology

The tool created by ORE Catapult is built specifically for the Seabased system architecture and termed a ‘wave-to-wire’ model – a computationally efficient method for assessing performance for multiple design parameters. The wave-to-wire model simulates the whole chain of events, from the buoy motion in the waves to supplying power to the local transmission network.

The key components are:

  • Determining the buoy hydrodynamic response coefficients, generating the wave surface elevation time history and calculating the wave excitation force.
  • Solving the coupled time-dependent buoy and linear translator equation of motion.
  • Extracting system motion (displacement, velocity, acceleration) and mechanical loads in pitch, heave and surge.
  • An electromagnetic module to determine the generator induced voltage based on the linear generator translator displacement.
  • An electrical module to evaluate the power conversion to the grid.
  • Investigation of a farm array interaction model to allow WEC array spacing and layout configuration

This collaboration provides Seabased with the ability to quickly evaluate system behaviour and performance for a defined configuration and sea state. Going forward, Seabased will use the tool to carry out whole system optimisation and tailor wave parks in different global locations, to maximise system output.

 

[1] Ocean Energy Europe – Where are ocean energy projects located?

Contact Our Team

Magnus Willet

Junior Project Manager

Email Magnus Willet

see bio