Experts at the University of Hull are supporting a new Lancaster-led research project which hopes to develop cutting-edge technologies to capture the huge renewable power of the oceans.
Led by Professor George Aggidis, and involving researchers from Lancaster University’s Department of Engineering and the University of Hull’s Energy and Environment Institute, the £1 million NHP-WEC (Novel High-Performance Wave Energy Converters) project is being funded with £798,000 from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, as well as partner university contributions.
The research team will advance ‘wave energy conversion’ (WEC) technologies by developing the critical control and monitoring systems that will make wave energy machines more controllable and reliable.
These will vastly improve their ability to capture energy and help ensure they can survive in extreme ocean environments.
The researchers will advance data-driven monitoring and novel control algorithms for a WEC concept developed at Lancaster University, called TALOS.
Coupled with WEC development the team will further strengthen unique sea-state forecasting technology, SmartWave, developed by the University of Hull.
The two platforms will be integrated through the project; a step-change advance in system design and control where the TALOS WEC system can take advantage of, and react to, the high-resolution information of the seas, such as wave height and direction, that SmartWave will be able to provide.
Professor George Aggidis said: “The design, development, deployment and operation of wave energy converters, such as the TALOS wave energy converter concept developed here at Lancaster University, and their potential commercial use requires a holistic understanding of the marine environment.
Dr Robert Dorrell, University of Hull, said: “Wave energy convertors are an important future component of balanced energy solutions. SmartWave uses artificial intelligence and remote satellite monitoring for high-fidelity sea state condition predictions.
“Such predictions are critical to enable optimised design and control of wave energy convertors, maximising efficiency and durability.”
The project is one of eight wave-energy research projects supported by a £7.5 million investment by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI).
These projects will build on the UK’s leading role in marine wave energy to overcome challenges to devices that capture the energy generated by waves and convert it into a renewable source of electricity.
The wider deployment of Wave Energy Converters (WECs) is hampered by challenges such as their ability to survive in extreme weather conditions and their efficiency.
The projects announced today will adopt innovative new approaches to overcoming these challenges, including taking inspiration from the fins of marine animals to design flexible WECs that can operate under extreme conditions.
Other projects will test the performance of WECs through ocean-based trials and develop the models needed to assess how they cope with conditions such as storm waves.
EPSRC Executive Chair, Professor Dame Lynn Gladden, said: “As a source of renewable power, marine wave energy would complement existing wind and solar technologies and help to provide a balanced supply.