- The system could provide up to 20% of global electricity consumption, producing clean, renewable energy with no carbon dioxide emissions.
- Each buoy will generate between 0.5 and 1 MW/hour, a production level which makes this technology a competitive power generation system.
With a budget of 15 million euros, the Spanish company Iberdrola, the Swedish CorPower Ocean and the Portuguese marine research centre WavEC are working on the project called HiWave to generate clean, renewable and economical energy by using the density of ocean wave energy. HiWave was presented a few days ago in Stockholm and is supported by the European Institute of Innovation and Technology through KIC InnoEnergy. The project’s completion is planned for 2016.
Buoys Inspired by the Pump System of the Human Heart
HiWave is based on an idea from the Swedish cardiologist and prolific inventor Stig Lundbäck. He realised that the pumping principles of the human heart could be useful to capture the energy produced by ocean waves, making use of their oscillation. Ocean waves have 10 times the energy density of wind and 100 times that of solar energy, as well as providing a considerably more stable and predictable energy flow.
In 2009 Lundbäck founded CorPower Ocean AB, the company which is now designing the device used inside the buoys with the latest generation control technology that will convert their movement into energy.
In the trial tests for the technology, carried out between 2012 and 2014 with small-scale prototypes, the system proved to be highly efficient, even with less powerful waves. The power density is five times greater than that achieved by other wave energy systems to date, and the device weighs a third less than those used in other tests in the same sector.
Each buoy will generate between 0.5 and 1 MW/hour, a production level which makes this technology a competitive electricity generation system. As a result, once the design for the buoy devices is completed on a real scale—probably with glass fibre or steel and measuring 8 metres in diameter, with a height of 20 metres and weighing 60 tonnes—Iberdrola Engineering will develop a marine park based on this technology. WavEC will contribute to the project by providing analysis and validations at each stage.