A short history of wave energy

An overview of wave energy.

An overview of wave energy technology provides insight into the principles and methods of harnessing oceanic waves for renewable energy. Exploring its advancements and potential applications is crucial for a sustainable and diverse energy portfolio.

The climate crisis compels us to transition swiftly to renewable energy. Future sustainability lies in investment and innovative solutions.
Wave energy is a clean and abundant renewable resource that, together with other energy sources, can bring stability to the clean energy mix.
From early patents to modern innovations, wave energy is on the path to a sustainable and low-carbon future.
With its predictable yield, wave energy adds durability to the energy mix, bolstering job creation and supply security.
Wave energy solutions vary, including point absorbers, attenuators, OWCs, overtopping devices, and submerged pressure differential devices.
Wave energy hasn’t become mainstream because of the challenging ocean environment, making systems that are robust enough to survive storms while producing enough electricity.
CorPower Ocean addresses wave energy challenges with structured validation, advanced design, efficiency improvements, cost reduction, and environmental stewardship.
CorPower Ocean introduces technology that makes devices naturally protected in storms and control technology to amplify power capture in regular waves.
CorPower Ocean’s Point Absorber WEC offers efficiency, storm survivability, environmental stewardship, and scalability.
CorPower Ocean’s modular approach to wave energy offers cost-effective scalability, local supply chains, and reduced environmental impact.
CorPower Ocean’s innovations boost wave energy efficiency, cut costs, and enhance sustainability: WaveSpring, Cascade gearbox, pre-tension cylinder, composite buoy, and UMACK anchor.
For roll out of wave energy, early projects need financial support, streamlined permitting processes, and clear national targets to attract investments.

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A challenge of a lifetime.

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A challenge of a lifetime.

Climate crisis and the urgent need for renewable energy solutions.

The climate crisis is one of the most critical problems facing humanity today. As global temperatures continue to rise, the effects of climate change are becoming increasingly evident through more frequent and severe weather events, rising sea levels, and the loss of biodiversity. The world must undergo a rapid and comprehensive energy transition, shifting from dependence on fossil fuels to a more sustainable, low-carbon energy system.

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A challenge of a lifetime.

The Paris agreement and the 1.5°C target.

In 2015, world leaders signed the Paris Agreement, a landmark international consensus aimed at limiting global warming to well below two °C above pre-industrial levels, with a more ambitious goal of limiting the temperature increase to 1.5°C. Achieving this target requires a massive reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, primarily through decarbonising the global energy system.

Fossil fuels such as coal, oil, and natural gas account for approximately 80% of the world’s energy supply. When burned, these energy sources emit significant amounts of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases, contributing to climate change. To meet the Paris Agreement’s goals, we must rapidly transition to renewable energy sources that generate little or no greenhouse gas emissions.

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A challenge of a lifetime.

The growing demand for energy.

As the global population grows and economies develop, energy demand will increase significantly. Some estimates suggest that global energy consumption could double by 2040/45. This growing demand places additional pressure on our energy systems, making the transition to renewable energy sources even more critical.

To meet this increasing demand while reducing greenhouse gas emissions, we must invest in diverse renewable energy technologies, including solar, wind, hydroelectric, and wave energy. Each technology offers its unique advantages suitable under different circumstances and with an attuned mix, a more stable, sustainable and low-carbon system can be achieved.

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A challenge of a lifetime.

The role of wave energy in the energy transition.

Wave energy, which harnesses the power of ocean waves to generate electricity, is a promising renewable energy source yet to be fully exploited. With an estimated global potential of 1.8 terawatts (TW) exploitable wave capacity, 500GW easily exploitable, wave energy could significantly influence the global energy transition. Wave energy has the potential to cover 10-20%1 of the future global electricity demand.

Wave energy offers several advantages in combination with other renewable energy sources. Due It has a more consistent and predictable production profile, wave can provide electrons to the grid when wind and solar cannot, making it a valuable addition to the renewable energy mix by reducing volatility and peak capacity in the system. Apart for densely populated coastal regions, wave energy can be a beneficial option for remote locations and islands that rely on expensive Diesel generators for power generation. Despite its potential, wave energy has faced numerous challenges, including storm survivability, poor device efficiency, corrosion etc. Innovative solutions, like those developed by CorPower Ocean, are needed to overcome these challenges, and unlock the full potential of wave energy.

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A challenge of a lifetime.

The importance of investment and research.

To accelerate the energy transition and mitigate the impacts of climate change, significant investment in research and development of renewable energy technologies is essential. Governments, private companies, and research institutions must collaborate to drive innovation and bring new, sustainable energy solutions to the market.

The transition to a low-carbon energy system is a monumental challenge, but it is one that we must undertake to ensure a sustainable future for our planet. Investing in renewable technologies like wave energy and embracing the energy transition can combat the climate crisis and create a cleaner, greener world for future generations.

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Introduction to wave energy.

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A short history of wave energy.

Wave energy is a renewable energy source that harnesses the power of ocean waves to generate electricity. As a clean, abundant, and largely untapped resource, it has the potential to play a significant role in the global transition towards sustainable energy systems. In this section, we will explore the basics of wave energy and its potential across the globe and provide a brief overview of its history.

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A short history of wave energy.

What is wave energy?

Wave energy – is generated by the movement of ocean waves created by the wind blowing across the water’s surface. As the wind imparts its energy to the water, it creates waves that propagate over long distances across the ocean. Wave energy converters (WECs) capture this energy, converting the motion of the waves into electricity.

There are several wave energy technologies, each with a unique design and approach to capturing wave energy. These technologies include point-absorbers, oscillating water columns (OWCs), attenuators, overtopping devices, and Salter’s ducks.

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A short history of wave energy.

Global wave energy potential.

The potential for wave energy is immense, with an estimated exploitable capacity of 1.8 terrawatts (TW). However, it is important to consider various factors when assessing this potential. These factors include the distance from the coastline, the impact on coastal alignment and protected areas, and competing uses of the ocean. Deductions are made for areas that are more than 30 miles away from the coast, difficult to extract due to wave direction and coastline alignment, occupied by shipping lanes, fishing areas, pipelines, and cables, or have unsuitable seabed morphology and water depth. Additionally, areas with limited infrastructure availability, such as harbors and grid connections, are taken into account. To arrive at the easily exploitable potential of 500 GW, only areas with the highest energy density of over 30 kW/m are considered on top of the aforementioned factors.

It is important to note that not all regions are equally suitable for wave energy production. The most attractive regions are typically the exposed west coasts of the world, where long-period swell waves have been built up over several days by different weather systems and traveled uninterrupted across the oceans, carrying significant exploitable energy. Examples of such regions include the Atlantic west coasts of Europe, North America, Australia, South America, and Africa. In these locations, wave energy is often independent of local wind conditions and can provide valuable energy supply during periods when wind and solar photovoltaic sources are not producing or are limited. These regions hold the greatest potential for wave energy utilization.

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A short history of wave energy.

The importance of wave energy.

As the world seeks to reduce its reliance on fossil fuels and transition to renewable energy sources, wave energy offers several advantages. It is a clean and abundant energy source with minimal greenhouse gas emissions and sizeable global potential. Additionally, wave energy can help diversify the renewable energy mix, complementing other sources like solar and wind power.

Wave energy also has the potential to support remote communities and island nations that have limited access to other renewable energy sources. By harnessing wave energy, these communities can reduce their reliance on imported fossil fuels and develop more sustainable, self-sufficient energy systems.

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Unleashing wave energy’s potential: evolution and overcoming challenges.

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Unleashing wave energy’s potential:
evolution and overcoming challenges.

The concept of harnessing wave energy dates to the late 19th century, with early patents filed for wave-powered devices. However, it was not until the 1970s, during the oil crisis, that interest in wave energy research and development began to grow.

Over the past few decades, numerous wave energy projects have been launched, with varying degrees of success. While some projects have faced challenges such as storm damage, corrosion, and marine life impacts, others have demonstrated the potential of wave energy as a viable renewable energy source. Today, companies like CorPower Ocean are developing innovative solutions to overcome these challenges and unlock the full potential of wave energy.

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Unleashing wave energy’s potential:
evolution and overcoming challenges.

A comprehensive history of wave energy: milestones and developments.

Wave energy has come a long way since its early beginnings, with numerous milestones and developments shaping its progress. This comprehensive history explores key moments and advancements contributing to its growth as a renewable energy source.

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Unleashing wave energy’s potential:
evolution and overcoming challenges.

Late 19th century: early concepts and patents.

The idea of harnessing wave energy dates back to the late 1800s, with early inventors filing patents for wave-powered devices. French inventor Pierre-Simon Girard filed one of the earliest known patents in 1799, proposing a concept for using wave energy to pump water for irrigation. In 1895, Spanish engineer, Isidoro Cabanyes, received a patent for a wave-powered device that used floats to pump water into a reservoir, releasing it to generate electricity. Although these early concepts were largely theoretical and had no practical implementations, they laid the foundation for future wave energy technologies.

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Unleashing wave energy’s potential:
evolution and overcoming challenges.

The 1970s: the oil crisis and renewed interest in wave energy.

The oil crisis of the 1970s ignited a renewed interest in alternative energy sources, among which wave energy emerged as a promising contender. Governments and research institutions responded by allocating significant investments towards wave energy research and development, aiming to decrease reliance on fossil fuels. Notable advancements were made during this era, including the creation of the Edinburgh Duck, also known as Salter’s Duck, by Scottish engineer Stephen Salter. This innovative device consisted of a series of jointed, floating “ducks” designed to capture wave energy and convert it into electricity. While the project encountered various challenges and was ultimately discontinued, it played a pivotal role in advancing wave energy research and stood as one of the most efficient wave energy converters of its time.

Additionally, noteworthy progress was achieved at NTNU (the Norwegian University of Science and Technology) in Trondheim, under the leadership of Professor Johannes Falnes. Groundbreaking research laid the foundation for modern hydrodynamics theory and established best practices in the field. The valuable contributions from Professor Falnes and his team further propelled the development and understanding of wave energy, shaping the future of this renewable energy source.

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Unleashing wave energy’s potential:
evolution and overcoming challenges.

The 1980s and 1990s: early wave energy projects and research.

Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, various wave energy projects were launched worldwide, with varying degrees of success. Some of the most notable projects included the Kaimei project in Japan, the Clam project in the United Kingdom, and the Ocean Power Delivery project in Portugal. These early projects helped to advance wave energy technology and provided valuable insights into the challenges and opportunities associated with harnessing wave power. However, many projects faced difficulties, such as high costs, technical challenges, and environmental concerns, which limited their success.

During this period, researchers also explored the potential of oscillating water column (OWC) technology. OWC devices use the motion of waves to compress and decompress air in a chamber, driving an air turbine to generate electricity. In 1991, the world’s first grid-connected OWC wave energy project, the LIMPET (Land Installed Marine Powered Energy Transformer), was installed on the Scottish island of Islay.

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Unleashing wave energy’s potential:
evolution and overcoming challenges.

The 2000s: advances in technology and industry growth.

The 2000s saw significant advancements in wave energy technology, driven by increased investment and research. Several new wave energy devices were developed and tested during this period, including the Pelamis Wave Energy Converter, the Wave Dragon, and the Aquamarine Oyster. These innovative devices showcased the potential of wave energy and demonstrated improvements in efficiency, durability, and environmental impact.

In addition to technological advancements, the 2000s also saw the growth of the wave energy industry, with numerous companies and organisations dedicated to developing and commercialising wave energy technology. This period saw increased collaboration between industry, academia, and government, helping to drive innovation and progress in the field. Companies like Ocean Power Technologies, Oceanlinx, and Wavegen emerged as leaders in developing wave energy devices, including point absorbers, attenuators, and overtopping devices.

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Unleashing wave energy’s potential:
evolution and overcoming challenges.

The 2010s to Present: continued innovation and commercialization.

In recent years, wave energy has continued to advance with ongoing research, development, and commercialisation efforts. Companies like CorPower Ocean, founded in 2012, are developing innovative solutions to address the challenges of previous wave energy technologies, such as storm survivability, efficiency and corrosion. CorPower Ocean’s point-absorber wave energy converter (WEC) offers increased efficiency, lower costs, and improved scalability, paving the way for the commercialisation of wave energy.

Wave energy solutions are currently rapidly developing worldwide, and successful demonstrations highlight the potential of this clean and abundant energy source. As the global push for renewable energy intensifies, wave energy is poised to play an increasingly important role in transitioning to a sustainable, low-carbon energy system. With continued innovation and collaboration between industry, academia, and government, the future of wave energy looks bright, promising a cleaner, more sustainable energy future.

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The role of wave energy in the energy mix.

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The role of wave energy in the energy mix.

Wave energy solutions are currently rapidly developing worldwide, and successful demonstrations highlight the potential of this clean and abundant energy source. As the global push for renewable energy intensifies, wave energy is poised to play an increasingly important role in transitioning to a sustainable, low-carbon energy system. With continued innovation and collaboration between industry, academia, and government, the future of wave energy looks bright, promising a cleaner, more sustainable energy future.

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The role of wave energy in the energy mix.

Comparison with other renewable energy sources.

Wave energy offers unique advantages compared to other renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, hydro, and Long Duration Storage Systems (LDES). With an increasing share of weather dependent power sources in our energy systems, a mix of different renewable sources is required to obtain stability in our future grids. Here, wave energy with its more stable and reliable production profile has an important role to play to offset the intermittency of sources like solar PV and wind. Although a reliable source, hydroelectric power has reached its potential limits in many regions due to geographical constraints and environmental concerns. LDES, on the other hand, is an efficient way to distribute energy but relies on other sources for its generation. Wave energy complements these sources by offering additional clean energy capacity and helping to balance the overall energy supply.

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The role of wave energy in the energy mix.

Advantages and disadvantages of wave energy.

Wave energy has several advantages, including a complementary production profile and the possibility of multi-use of the sea. As mentioned earlier, wave energy offers a more consistent and predictable supply than solar and wind power, making it an attractive addition to the renewable energy portfolio. With its high-spatial density, wave energy can coexist with floating offshore wind farms, where wave arrays can be deployed in available space in between floating structures. For optimal efficiency, it is highly recommended to concentrate the wave arrays in a specific area of a project site as close to shore as possible. This approach serves to minimize the costs associated with inter-array cabling and the overall distance traveled for operations and maintenance (O&M) activities.

However, wave energy also has its disadvantages. The technology is still nascent, with high upfront costs and technical challenges. As observed in other renewable energy technologies, like Solar PV and battery storage, about a 1GW installed capacity was needed before these technologies started ramping exponentially thanks to reduced cost benefitting from economies of scale. Additionally, wave energy installations may have environmental impacts if not carefully catered for, such as altering local ecosystems or posing risks to marine life.

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The role of wave energy in the energy mix.

Potential applications of wave energy.

Wave energy has various potential applications, including grid-scale power generation, off-grid solutions, remote communities and islands, oil and gas platforms, and green hydrogen production. Wave energy can complement existing renewable sources for grid-scale power and contribute to a stable and diversified energy supply. Off-grid applications, such as remote communities and islands, can benefit from wave energy as a reliable and sustainable power source, reducing their reliance on diesel generators and imported fuels. Oil and gas platforms can also utilise wave energy for off-grid power, replacing gas generators to reduce operational costs. Furthermore, wave energy can produce green hydrogen for steel production, transportation, and energy storage sectors.

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The role of wave energy in the energy mix.

The key to achieving 100% carbon free energy (CFE).

To achieve 100% CFE, a diverse and balanced mix of renewable energy sources are essential. Following the trend of multinationals to a growing degree aim to hourly match clean electricity supply to demand, underpinning growing clean energy ambitions, studies have shown that wave energy reduces the cost to match demand with firm, stable renewable power when added to the mix with solar, wind and battery storage. Avoided cost can be as high as 20%, depending on the required level of matching and the geography. Over time, the impact on the cost of supplying 24/7 green power is expected to increase as wave cost reductions materialise with deployed capacity. With its unique advantages and complementary production profile, wave energy can play a vital role in this transition. Wave energy can significantly contribute to a sustainable, low-carbon energy system by addressing the technical challenges and reducing costs. Collaboration between industry, academia, government, and continued innovation and investment will be crucial in unlocking wave energy’s full potential and realising a 100% CFE future.

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The role of wave energy in the energy mix.

Complementing other renewable energy sources.

One of the primary advantages of wave energy is its ability to complement other renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind power. While solar and wind energy generation can be intermittent and subject to fluctuations due to weather conditions, wave energy tends to be more consistent and predictable. This is the case when waves on the large oceans have been fetched over long distances, over multiple days from various weather systems, creating waves that provide a more consistent and dependable energy source. Incorporating wave energy into the energy mix can help balance the variability of other renewable energy sources and provide a more stable and reliable supply of clean energy.

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The role of wave energy in the energy mix.

Reducing dependence on fossil fuels.

Wave energy has the potential to significantly reduce the world’s dependence on fossil fuels, which are the primary source of greenhouse gas emissions and a significant contributor to climate change. As a clean and abundant energy source, wave energy can help displace fossil fuels in electricity generation, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and supporting global efforts to mitigate climate change.

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The role of wave energy in the energy mix.

Supporting remote and island communities.

Wave energy can support remote and island communities with limited access to other renewable energy sources. Many of these communities rely on costly and polluting diesel generators for their electricity needs. By harnessing the power of ocean waves, these communities can develop more sustainable, self-sufficient energy systems that reduce their reliance on imported fossil fuels and lower their carbon footprint.

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The role of wave energy in the energy mix.

Enhancing energy security and resilience.

Incorporating wave energy into the energy mix can help to enhance energy security and resilience by diversifying the sources of electricity generation. By relying on a diverse mix of renewable energy sources, countries can reduce their vulnerability to disruptions in the supply of fossil fuels, such as geopolitical conflicts or price fluctuations, and build more resilient and secure energy systems.

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The role of wave energy in the energy mix.

Job creation and economic development.

The development and deployment of wave energy technologies have the potential to create new jobs and stimulate economic growth in the renewable energy sector. With the global deployment of wave energy projects, there will be a demand for skilled professionals to design, build, operate, and maintain wave energy devices and infrastructure. It will lead to new job opportunities and foster the expansion of the renewable energy industry.

In a recent third-party techno-economic analysis of a 10 MW CorPower wave farm in Agucadoura (Portugal) with a lifetime of 20 years, University of Edinburgh (UDEIN) found it could generate 2.79 €/MW in Gross Value Add (GVA) and 54.27 job-years supported, strengthening the local supply chain and helping create a new local wave energy industry. Potential job creation is massive when scaling up, with 480 FTEs created in 2030 at 600 MW deployed and 24,000 FTEs in 2050 at 30 GW, as examples.

As such, wave energy can play a pivotal role in the global energy mix by complementing other renewable energy sources, reducing dependence on fossil fuels, supporting remote and island communities, enhancing energy security and resilience, and contributing to job creation and economic development. As wave energy technology advances and costs decrease, wave energy becomes an increasingly important component of the sustainable energy future.

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Types of wave energy solutions.

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Types of wave energy solutions.

Wave energy solutions come in various forms, each designed to capture and convert the power of ocean waves into usable electricity. Understanding the different types of wave energy solutions is essential for determining the most appropriate technology for a given location and application. This section will explore five primary types of wave energy solutions: point absorbers, attenuators, oscillating water columns, overtopping devices, and submerged pressure differential devices.

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Types of wave energy solutions.

Point absorbers.

Point absorbers are floating structures that capture wave energy by absorbing the motion of the waves in multiple directions. They typically consist of a buoy or float that moves vertically with the waves, connected to a submerged reaction plate or a fixed structure. The relative motion between the buoy and the submerged component drives a power take-off (PTO) system, which converts the mechanical energy into electricity.

CorPower Ocean’s wave energy converter (WEC) is an example of a point absorber. Their innovative design addresses previous wave energy technologies’ challenges like storm survival, efficiency, corrosion, and marine life impacts. By offering increased efficiency in terms of structural efficiency, i.e. the amount of energy that is produced in relation to the amount of equipment installed in the ocean (MWh/tonne), lower costs, and improved scalability, CorPower Ocean’s point absorber technology has the potential to revolutionise the wave energy industry.

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Types of wave energy solutions.

Attenuators.

Attenuators are long, floating structures that are oriented parallel to the direction of the incoming waves. They typically consist of multiple hinged segments that move relative to each other as the waves pass underneath. This relative motion drives hydraulic pumps or other PTO systems, converting the wave energy into electricity. The Pelamis Wave Energy Converter, developed in the early 2000s, is an example of an attenuator.

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Types of wave energy solutions.

Oscillating water columns (OWCs).

OWCs are wave energy devices that use waves’ rising and falling motion to compress and decompress air within a chamber. As the waves enter the chamber, they force air through a turbine, which generates electricity. When the waves recede, the air is drawn back into the chamber, again driving the turbine. OWCs can be installed onshore, nearshore, or offshore and integrated into structures such as breakwaters. The LIMPET (Land Installed Marine Powered Energy Transformer) on the Scottish island of Islay is an example of an OWC.

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Types of wave energy solutions.

Overtopping devices.

Overtopping devices guide waves into a raised reservoir or basin to capture wave energy. The waves fill the reservoir, and the potential energy of the stored water transforms into kinetic energy when released through a turbine or multiple turbines, producing electricity. Overtopping devices can be installed onshore or offshore and take various forms, such as the Wave Dragon, a floating offshore device, or the Seawave Slot-Cone Generator (SSG), an onshore stepped structure.

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Types of wave energy solutions.

Submerged pressure differential devices.

Submerged pressure differential devices are installed on the seabed and use the pressure difference between the oscillating wave-induced water column and the static water column to drive a PTO system. One example of this technology is the WaveRoller, which consists of a hinged panel that moves back and forth with the wave-induced pressure changes, driving a hydraulic piston to generate electricity.

In conclusion, there are various wave energy solutions, each with unique advantages and challenges. Currently more than 50% of the planned capacity and 40% of R&D spend is concentrated on point absorber technology. As research and development continue, these technologies will become more efficient, cost-effective, and scalable, contributing to the growth of the wave energy industry and its role in the global energy mix.

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Historical failures and challenges of wave energy.

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Historical failures and challenges of wave energy.

The development of wave energy technology has faced numerous challenges and setbacks throughout its history. Understanding these historical failures and the obstacles that have hindered the progress of wave energy is crucial for identifying the lessons learned and the opportunities for improvement. This section will discuss some key challenges and failures that have shaped the wave energy industry and how companies like CorPower Ocean are working to overcome them.

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Historical failures and challenges of wave energy.

Technical challenges.

Wave energy devices must operate in harsh and unpredictable ocean environments, making them susceptible to technical challenges related to design, materials, and maintenance. Some of the historical technical challenges faced by wave energy technologies include:

  • Survivability: Early wave energy devices often struggled to withstand the extreme forces and conditions of the ocean, leading to structural failures, damage, and loss of functionality.
  • Efficiency: Many early wave energy devices could not capture and convert a significant portion of the available wave energy, resulting in low efficiency and limited power output.
  • Corrosion and fouling: Exposure to salt water and marine organisms can lead to corrosion and fouling of wave energy devices, reducing their performance and increasing maintenance requirements.

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Historical failures and challenges of wave energy.

Economic challenges.

Developing and deploying wave energy technologies has historically been a capital-intensive process, with high upfront costs and uncertain returns on investment. Some of the economic challenges faced by the wave energy industry include:

  • High costs: The costs associated with the development, construction, and maintenance of wave energy devices have often been prohibitive, making it difficult for the technology to compete with other renewable energy sources and conventional power generation methods.
  • Lack of economies of scale: The wave energy industry has struggled to achieve the economies of scale needed to drive down costs and make technology more competitive.
  • Limited funding and investment: Due to wave energy’s high risks and uncertainties, the industry has historically struggled to attract sufficient funding and investment to support its growth and development.

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Historical failures and challenges of wave energy.

Regulatory and environmental challenges.

The deployment of wave energy devices can be subject to complex regulatory processes and potential environmental impacts, which have presented additional challenges for the industry. Some of the regulatory and environmental challenges faced by wave energy developers include:

  • Permitting and licensing: Navigating the permitting and licensing processes for wave energy projects can be time-consuming and costly, creating barriers to entry for new technologies and developers.
  • Environmental impacts: The potential environmental effects of wave energy devices, such as interference with marine ecosystems and coastal processes, can raise concerns and lead to increased scrutiny and regulation of the industry.

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Overcoming the challenges: The CorPower Ocean approach.

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Overcoming the Challenges:
The CorPower Ocean approach.

To proactively address the historical challenges in wave energy, CorPower has adopted a structured five-stage product verification process established as best practice for product engineering in the ocean energy sector by International Energy Agency-Ocean Energy Systems and ETIP Ocean. Moreover, by learning from past experiences and incorporating cutting-edge technology, CorPower Ocean is working to overcome the barriers that have hindered the progress of the wave energy industry.

Some of the key strategies employed by CorPower Ocean:

  • Structured product validation: it involves stepwise validation of survivability, performance, reliability, affordability, and scalability starting with small scale prototypes in Stage 1 to fully integrated WECs in increasing scales up to an array demonstration in Stage 5. A key part of the strategy is the on-land dry testing in a controlled simulated wave loading to debug and stabilize PTO system prior to ocean deployment. The process includes product certification with global certification expert DNV and independent validation of the device performance by marine research centres EMEC and WavEC.
  • Advanced engineering and design: CorPower Ocean’s wave energy converter (WEC) is designed to withstand the harsh ocean environment, with features such as a storm protection mode to ensure survivability during extreme conditions.
  • Improved efficiency: CorPower Ocean’s WEC utilises an innovative phase-controlled oscillating body, which allows for increased energy capture and conversion efficiency, resulting in higher power output.
  • Reduced costs: By developing scalable, modular wave energy solutions, CorPower Ocean aims to reduce wave energy production costs and make the technology more competitive with other renewable energy sources.
  • Environmental stewardship: CorPower Ocean is committed to minimising the environmental impacts of its wave energy devices and works closely with regulators and stakeholders to ensure that its projects adhere to the highest ecological standards.

 
In conclusion, wave energy’s historical failures and challenges have provided valuable lessons and insights for the industry. By learning from these experiences and adopting innovative approaches, companies like CorPower Ocean are working to overcome the barriers that have hindered the progress of wave energy and unlock its potential as a vital component of the global renewable energy mix.

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CorPower Ocean’s wave energy solution.

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CorPower Ocean’s wave energy solution.

CorPower Ocean is revolutionising the wave energy industry with its innovative and advanced wave energy converter (WEC) technology. The company’s unique approach to harnessing the power of ocean waves has the potential to make wave energy a viable and sustainable source of renewable energy, capable of contributing significantly to the global energy mix. This section will delve deeper into the critical aspects of CorPower Ocean’s wave energy solution and discuss how it is poised to transform the wave energy landscape.

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CorPower Ocean’s wave energy solution.

Advanced control algorithms and power take-off (PTO) system.

At the heart of CorPower Ocean’s WEC is a sophisticated control system that uses advanced algorithms to optimise the device’s response to incoming waves. This control system, coupled with a high-performance power take-off (PTO) system, is responsible for converting the mechanical energy generated by the oscillating body into electrical energy. By synchronising the motion of the WEC with the incoming waves, the control system and PTO work together to maximise energy capture and conversion efficiency, resulting in higher power output.

Designers make the PTO system robust and reliable, guaranteeing consistent performance in the harsh and unpredictable ocean environment. The compact and modular design makes maintenance and replacement easy, which reduces downtime and operational costs.

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CorPower Ocean’s wave energy solution.

Robust and durable materials.

CorPower Ocean constructs its WEC using high-quality materials selected for their durability and resistance to corrosion and fouling. Utilising these materials contributes to the device’s long-term reliability and performance, reduces maintenance needs, and prolongs its operational lifetime.

The company is also committed to ongoing research and development in materials science, exploring new and innovative materials that can further enhance the performance and durability of its wave energy devices.

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CorPower Ocean’s wave energy solution.

Integrated monitoring and diagnostics.

To ensure the optimal performance and reliability of its WECs, CorPower Ocean has developed an integrated monitoring and diagnostics system that continuously collects and analyses data from the device. This system allows for real-time performance monitoring, enabling the early detection of potential issues and facilitating proactive maintenance and repairs.

The monitoring and diagnostics system also provides valuable data for ongoing research and development efforts, helping CorPower Ocean to refine its technology and improve the efficiency and performance of its wave energy devices.

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CorPower Ocean’s wave energy solution.

Deployment and installation strategies.

CorPower Ocean has developed innovative deployment and installation strategies for its WECs, aiming to minimise wave energy projects’ costs and environmental impacts. The company’s modular and scalable design allows for the efficient deployment of multiple devices in an array configuration, reducing the need for extensive infrastructure and making the most of available resources.

Additionally, CorPower Ocean has developed a low-impact anchoring system, the UMACK anchor, that minimises the disturbance to the seabed and marine ecosystems. This system also allows for easy installation and removal of the devices, further reducing the environmental footprint of wave energy projects.

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CorPower Ocean’s wave energy solution.

Collaboration and partnerships.

Recognising the importance of collaboration and partnerships in developing and deploying wave energy technology, CorPower Ocean actively engages with various stakeholders, including research institutions, industry partners, regulatory agencies, and local communities. Collaborating with these stakeholders, the company strives to create a supportive environment for the wave energy industry’s growth and development while ensuring responsible and sustainable project execution.

CorPower Ocean’s wave energy solution represents a significant step forward in wave energy, offering a highly efficient, scalable, and environmentally friendly option for harnessing the power of ocean waves. CorPower Ocean, equipped with innovative technology, robust materials, and a dedication to collaboration and sustainability, stands ready to lead in shaping the wave energy industry’s future and contribute to the global shift towards clean, renewable energy sources.

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CorPower Ocean’s wave energy converter.

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CorPower Ocean’s wave energy converter.

CorPower Ocean is a leading wave energy technology company that has developed a unique and innovative wave energy converter (WEC) to harness the power of ocean waves and convert it into clean, renewable electricity. With its focus on efficiency, scalability, and environmental sustainability, CorPower Ocean’s solution aims to overcome the challenges that have historically plagued the wave energy industry. In this section, we will explore CorPower Ocean’s wave energy solution and highlight areas that set it apart from other technologies in the field.

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CorPower Ocean’s wave energy converter.

Point absorber WEC.

CorPower WEC is of Point Absorber type, rated at 300-350 kW, with a heaving composite buoy at the ocean surface that harness energy from ocean waves. The buoy is connected to the seabed using an innovative, and proprietary universal mooring, anchor & connectivity kit (UMACK).

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CorPower Ocean’s wave energy converter.

Advanced phase control technology.

CorPower uses a unique phase control technology that allows the WEC to be tuned and detuned, altering the system’s response to ocean conditions. In operational tuned mode, phase control makes the device oscillate in phase with incoming waves, strongly amplifying the WEC’s motion and thereby the power capture. In storms, the detuned state makes the WEC transparent to incoming waves for enhanced survivability, similar to the blade-pitching function in wind turbines for protecting them from overloading.

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CorPower Ocean’s wave energy converter.

Naturally transparent to protect from storms.

The WEC is naturally transparent to protect from storms and is the state the machine returns to in case of any malfunction. Hence, the machine needs to be actively controlled to go from the protective detuned state into tuned state. This passive survival system has enabled a 80-90% reduction in snatch loads.

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CorPower Ocean’s wave energy converter.

Powerful combination of efficiency and survivability.

This combination allows for a large amount of energy to be harvested using a relatively small and low-cost device, delivering a structural efficiency of 8 MWh/tonne – Such output represents as much as a 5x improvement in structural efficiency over competing state-of-the-art WECs. Compact and lightweight WEC devices are efficient to produce in volumes, install, operate, and maintain in modular multi-device CorPacks using low-cost vessels. This improves uptime, increases availability for a higher annual energy production (AEP) and capacity factor (%), and significantly reduces operational costs (OPEX).

Altogether, this step-change improvement in power delivery per mass maximises the energy output and the survivability of the CorPower WEC with verified metrics underpinning a highly competitive LCOE-curve – Overcoming the main challenges that have precluded wave energy from scaling up historically.

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CorPower Ocean’s wave energy converter.

Environmental stewardship.

CorPower Ocean is committed to minimising the environmental impacts of its wave energy devices. It works closely with regulators, stakeholders, and the scientific community to ensure its projects adhere to the highest environmental standards.

CorPower WEC composite hulls for instance can be produced in large numbers locally at customers’ sites with a unique mobile factory concept developed and operated by CorPower, with low cost and minimum GHG emissions from transport and logistics.

Moreover, another environmental concern is related to the effects of marine renewable energy projects on species that risk colliding with submerged structures and alteration of the use of space due to the presence of WECs. Cetaceans that transit in the installation area of the project are acoustically active animals, meaning they can detect the presence of obstacles through echolocation thus the risk of collision is low. Another stress factor also associated with the presence of WECs is noise present throughout a project because of construction activities, the main operation of WECs, and associated maritime traffic. To mention a mitigation action, an environmentally friendly installation method for the UMACK anchor installation has been developed. The low-noise “Vibro-driving” technique reduces noise 15-20 dB compared to impact pile diving, with a vibration frequency of 20-40 Hz to which marine mammals are less sensitive.

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A modular concept for enhanced scalability.

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A modular concept for enhanced scalability.

On the topic of device size and cost-reduction potential, Corpower Ocean’s insight is that the use few large building blocks is not necessarily better than many small building block for creating very large systems. Modularity that allows doing one piece over and over again in an industrial mass manufacturing setup that achieves a higher degree of economies of scale, and cycles of learning, can in many examples be found to give a faster cost reduction potential compared to systems based on fewer very large units.

Oxford prof Flyvberg describes this trend well in his recent book ‘How big things get done’ where he has studied industrial ‘super-projects’ in a very systematic manner.

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A modular concept for enhanced scalability.

CorPower Ocean’s scalability strategy.

CorPower Ocean’s modular approach to wave farms is based on high density clustering of many small identical units rather than single large machines, as compared to offshore wind. A 10MW CorPack wave cluster for instance is made up of 25 units of 10m diameter installed with 150m spacing provides high power delivery per ocean space despite small individuals units. It can deliver about 15MW/km2, which is 3-5 times more power per ocean space compared to offshore wind. CorPack clusters are used as building blocks that can be laid out side-to-side to form large utility farms of 100s’ of MW to GW scale, either as stand-alone wave farms or as hybrid wind-wave farms that share the electrical infrastructure.

We believe that the size of the current CorPwoer C4 WEC is close to the economically optimal for the absorber. We plan to do minor upscaling on device-level over future generations, taking the WECs from current 300kW rating towards 450-500kW, by improving control and Power-Take Off technology combined with a small increase in diameter from 9 to 10m. 

This modular product configuration, similar to EV battery architecture with many small identical cells packed in modules, allows volume manufacturing and economies of scale to help drive down cost faster, compared to few large units per MW. It supports a very competitive cost-curve, and avoids the constant redesign-for-yet-larger-machines that is hurting the profitability of offshore wind OEMs.

The relatively small dimensions also allow local supply chains for fabrication of most subsystems, and CorPower’s unique mobile factory cells enables on-site fabrication of the composite hulls. This mobile factory concept avoids significant cost and CO2-footprint by eliminating transportation of the hulls. As demonstrated in Viana do Castelo, local ports can support the on-land logistics and assembly, with low-cost vessels for Operations and Maintenance. The delivery concept supports rapid roll-out of the technology on a global scale, with high local content generating sustainable jobs and economic development to coastal communities in the regions.

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A modular concept for enhanced scalability.

Supply chain.

Thanks to modular approach with smaller unit sizes that are clustered with many identical units in farms:

  • Utilizing a high degree of local supply chain, thanks to fabrication being of dimensions and types efficiently supported by local supply chains
  • Utilizing local port facilities and local vessels for installations and O&M, revitilising coastal communities along the European Atlantic arc.
  • For drive-trains, using gearbox suppliers and electrical drive components from the automotive sector, piggybacking on the volumes developed for electrification of busses, trucks and off-highway vehicle
  • For main structures (hulls, blades), sizes are significantly smaller than wind turbine blades, enabling more local supply chains.
  • Some developers offering novel ‘mobile factory’ concepts for fabrication of the hulls of wave energy converters. Installing such automated factory cells on customer sites close to the offshore site, manufacturing the hulls needed for a certain project, then moving the mobile factory cells to the next customer site. By this eliminating significant cost and CO2-footprint by avoiding transportation of the main structures.
  • Many standard components such as cooling, lubrication, air conditioning, control and communication shared with the wind sector.
  • Proprietary component and sub-system fabrication can be scaled in collaboration with contracted assembly partners, as the types and dimensions of subsystems are common with many industrial applications.

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A modular concept for enhanced scalability.

Fabrication.

Fabrication of metal structures (PTOs, drivetrains) and composite structures (main structure, hull/blades) can be done by a wide range of local facilities, using existing infrastructure without necessarily increasing the cost for ‘local content’. Our largest structure is 10m long and has a mass of 10-20tonnes, which should be compared to 100m-type structures with 1000´tonnes for offshore wind. This opens up for a very scalable and widely available supply chain.

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A modular concept for enhanced scalability.

Gearboxes.

Existing factories supplying heavy automotive, no need for new specialized supply chain as used for wind gearboxes such as Swepart Transmission and Leax group, who are major suppliers to Scania and Volvo trucks.

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A modular concept for enhanced scalability.

Generators and inverters.

Piggybacking on the volumes and R&D budgets from the electrification of heavy automotive (Trucks & Busses). Traction motors used in heavy automotives offer 1MW+ peak power (making it compatible with many offshore energy devices), coupled with highly efficient 700/800V inverters (power electronics), many switching over to Silicon Carbide (SiC) to further increase efficiency. Prices are coming down rapidly thanks to large investments into product development and volumes of the automotive industry.

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A modular concept for enhanced scalability.

Foundations.

30 tonnes / 20m structures (UMACK anchor in our case) can be fabricated efficiently by local supply chains close to deployment sites and installed using relatively simple construction vessels. No bottle neck as experienced with XXL-monopiles for offshore wind.

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CorPower Ocean’s five key innovations in wave energy technology.

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CorPower Ocean’s five key innovations in wave energy technology.

CorPower Ocean has developed a range of groundbreaking innovations that are revolutionising the wave energy sector. These advancements are designed to address the challenges faced by previous wave energy technologies, improving efficiency, reducing costs, and enhancing scalability. Here are the five critical innovations pioneered by CorPower Ocean.

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CorPower Ocean’s five key innovations in wave energy technology.​

WaveSpring technology.

CorPower Ocean’s WaveSpring technology is a game-changer in the wave energy sector, as it amplifies motion and power capture. By utilising a negative spring function, this technology enables a threefold increase in energy production for a given buoy size, significantly boosting revenue-to-cost ratios. WaveSpring technology enhances the efficiency of CorPower’s wave energy converters, making them more competitive with other renewable energy sources.