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AW-Energy gets new funding boost as WaveRoller scales up

Finnish wave-power developer AW-Energy has set the seal on more than $9m in new funding to support commercialisation of its near-shore WaveRoller concept.

The latest financing – secured with the backing of compatriot utility Fortum, innovation fund Sitra and technology development agency Tekes – comes in the wake of AW-Energy’s installation of a “semi-scale” 300kW grid-connected array off Peniche, Portugal.

The array of three 100kW devices, brought online in mid-August, is being operated by AW-Energy, with a group including industrial heavyweights Bosch Rexroth and ABB, and Portuguese renewables operator Eneolica.

The WaveRoller is designed for deployments at average wave heights of 1.5-2.2 metres and water depth of 12 metres.

“The operational grid-connected data during the commissioning has proven that the WaveRoller generates electricity in very low sea states,” says chief executive John Liljelund.

The WaveRoller is based around a seabed-foundation fitted with a series of hinged flaps that sway back and forth in the wave surge, driving piston pumps that propel a working fluid through a hydraulic generator.

Two small 10kW WaveRoller prototypes have been running off Peniche for several years, with data collected during testing used to fine-tune the design for the 100kW units now in operation.