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Giant Buoy-Like New Wave Energy Installation May Facilitate Offshore Development

published: 2022-11-25 9:30

Waveswing, a piece of wave energy equipment recently developed by Scottish company AWS Ocean Energy that looks like a giant buoy from afar, has performed exceptionally in offshore tests.

Waveswing, known as the underwater wave buoy, measures at 4m in diameter, 7m in height, and 50 tons in weight. AWS Ocean Energy commented that Waveswing exceeds 10kW in average power under moderate waves, and had once attained a highest record of 80kW, with even more challenging conditions under a larger wind speed lined up for subsequent tests.

As pointed out by AWS Ocean Energy, water pressure at the bottom of the sea would induce changes between waves, and what Waveswing does is to capture dynamics and convert them into electricity through a direct-drive generator.

Despite low power generation compared to the more matured wind power, Simon Gray, CEO of AWS Ocean Energy, commented that Waveswing is optimal in offshore applications by providing power for submarine oil fields or ocean monitoring, and that the company will be developing an offshore platform that accommodates 20 units of 500kW devices, which could go up to 10MW.

The team is currently conducting tests at the European Marine Energy Center (EMEC) that are scheduled for completion before the end of the year, before unfolding further tests next year. EMEC is located at Scapa Flow of the Orkney Islands in Scotland, and serves as a renowned test site for marine energy such as wave energy. Neil Kermode, Managing Director at EMEC, also commented that he is happy to see the successful deployment and operation of Waveswing.

Although there is an abundance level of marine energy resources, the high development cost, as well as risks in offshore installations and maintenance, are obstructing increases of marine energy installations compared to other renewable energy. As shown from the data in March 2022, Ocean Energy Europe commented on the risen capacity of marine energy installations, where Europe had installed 2.2MW of tidal energy in 2023 as opposed to the mere installation of 260kW back in 2020, and had grown by threefold in wave energy installations last year at 681kW. As estimated, 1.38MW of wave energy around the world had connected to the grid last year, while 3.12MW of new tidal energy was also installed at the same time.

However, the data of WindEurope pointed out that Europe had arrived at 17.4GW in wind power installations back in 2021.

 (Cover photo source: AWS Ocean Energy)

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