Finns get funds to roll out wave device for testing off Portugal

A consortium led by Finnish wave-power technologist AW-Energy has signed a $4.4m (€3m) agreement with the European Union (EU) to move its WaveRoller device toward commercialisation.

Under the demonstration deal, AW-Energy aims to build and deploy a grid-connected 300-kilowatt WaveRoller unit in waters offshore from the town of Peniche, Portugal, for a year-long technology proving programme.

Among the companies making up the consortium are industrial heavyweights Bosch-Rexroth and ABB, renewable energy operator Eneolica, and Portugese wave energy promotion body the Wave Energy Centre.

“The experience of our consortium is a significant asset to the project, and we are thrilled about this real pan-European co-operation,” says AW-Energy chief executive John Liljelund. “AW-Energy has been working hard the last three years with two sea installed prototypes, tank testing and CFD [computational fluid dynamics] simulations.

“Now we have the site, grid connection permission, installation license and the technology ready for the demonstration phase.”

The contract between AW-Energy and the EU is the first out of the gates under the EU’s CALL FP7 - Demonstration of the innovative full size systems.

Two WaveRoller prototypes have been deployed off Peniche to-date. Data collected during the test period is being used for verification of the CFD simulations and designing the next unit, as well as for monitoring of sediment movements and fouling phenomenon in its surrounds.

WaveRoller captures kinetic energy from the swell developed at the sea bottom, using a bottom-mounted moving wing. In surface waves, water particles roll in a circular motion whose energy is squeezed as the waves come into the shore. Below the surface swell, at a depth half of the length of the swell, the circular rolling motion becomes more elliptical, and at the sea bottom the water particles rock back and forth up to the breaker line.

The captured energy is converted to electricity using traditional technologies.