Assuming the average efficiency of an ocean energy device is 30%, wave energy technologies could potentially produce 8850 TWh/year, covering around 41.8% of global electricity consumption (2016 global energy consumption: 21 191 TWh/year.
Wave conditions vary significantly across different regions, and different types of wave energy technologies can be beneficial for different areas. Unfortunately, many wave energy technologies have not yet matured enough to harness all the potential power available in the waves. Presently, only a few ocean energy companies have achieved high technical readiness level, which would make them strong competitors in the global electricity market. An example of a company which has reached this level is the Finnish company Wello Ltd., their device the “Penguin” wave energy converter (WEC), is based on rotational mass principle (gyration).
The Unique Technology “Penguin”
Wello’s patented key invention is to convert wave movement to gyration, which is then amplified. The asymmetrical shape of the “Penguin” is used to capture the energy from the waves from all directions. The roll of the device spins the rotator inside the device (orange part on the GIF video), directly capturing the energy in the waves. Power is led from the rotator to generator (yellow part on the GIF video) using the same shaft eliminating conversion losses. Another feature of the device — all mechanical and electrical parts are located inside the hull of the converter to ensure survivability in the aggressive salt and harsh environment.
The “Penguin” is a scalable wave energy converter and can be adopted to almost all sites even with small waves, 1.3-1.5 m. The wave energy converter is fixed securely to the sea bed with a simple mooring system. Only 2 meters of each unit is visible above the surface and the Wello Penguins do not produce any audible or visible disturbance to the nearest shore.
The Current Project in Scotland
Research and development of the “Penguin” technology is started in 70th, and in 2012 the first full-scale prototype was deployed in Scotland (Orkney islands) at EMEC (European Marine Energy Centre).
The main characteristics:
- Nominal Power – 600 kW;
- Length – 30 m;
- Width – 16 m;
- Hight – 9 m;
- Construction mass – 220 t (1600 t with the ballast);
- Standard 6-points mooring system;
- Cable configuration – Lazy-wave;
- Water depth – 70 m.
Deployment of device is cost effective and can be achieved with small vessels available locally. The operations and maintenance are easy; it is similar to maintaining any floating device.
Figure 1: Deployment of Wave Energy Converter at EMEC Base
The “Penguin” has been tested now for almost 6 years by the rugged coast in Scotland and in Finland and it has survived the harshest ocean conditions with waves raising up to 18 meters. The energy generated by the wave energy converter “Penguin” is transferred onshore by a sub-sea cable with a connection to the grid.
In frame of European CEFOW (Clean Energy from Ocean Waves) project, two new “Penguin” wave energy converters will be deployed at the EMEC in 2018 and 2019 with the nominal power for each converter – 1000 kW.
The Future Project in Indonesia (near Bali Island)
The company has recently received the first order for a commercial wave energy park. The electricity produced from the park will have zero emissions. Gapura Energi Utama (GEU), an Indonesian infrastructure construction company has ordered a 10 MW Wello “Penguin” wave energy park. The park will be located next to Nusa Penida Island in Bali and it will be the largest wave energy park globally. The delivery will take place after the permitting process is finalized, which is estimated to occur in the end of 2018.
With this project estimated revenue in 2018 will be 6.3 million EUR.
Wello receive funds for the product development from investors.