Wave Swell plans wave device deployment off Tasmania 

Posted: May 12, 2017 by oldbrew in Energy, innovation
Tags: ,

Credit: Wave Swell Energy

It’s essentially an artificial blowhole according to the company CEO. They say the device uses resonance to make the most energy out of the water that washes into it, by operating at the natural frequency of the waves, and claim it’s ‘120% more efficient than a conventional device’.

Wave Swell Energy plans to install a commercial scale wave energy plant in the Bass Strait, off King Island in Tasmania, reports Tidal Energy Today.

Wave Swell’s series of one-megawatt generators will cost up to $7 million to build, and at peak times will provide up to half the power for King Island’s 1,600 residents, according to the Australian Maritime College (AMC).

The Australian-based wave energy developer said it expects the cost of wave power to be less than 10 cents per kilowatt hour when built at scale.

The news follows the testing of Wave Swell’s device in AMC’s shallow water basin which demonstrated the technology was ready for commercialization, and found the performance of the device was at least 120% more efficient than a conventional device, according to AMC.

Tom Denniss, CEO of Wave Swell Energy, said: “The results indicate the technology is ready to assume its place as part of the world’s commercial energy generation mix, with a strong potential to be among the very lowest cost sources of power within a few years.”

Wave Swell Energy’s design is a concrete gravity structure that sits on the seabed at the water depth of 10 meters. It is based on the oscillating water column concept, which acts like an artificial blowhole with water rising and falling inside a chamber.

AMC said Wave Swell introduced novel vents that allow the air to escape from the chamber as a wave enters. The vents then close and as the wave passes, it draws air through the turbine. This has two significant advantages, according to AMC, as the venting of the chamber when the wave enters reduces damping, meaning more water enters the chamber – resulting in an increase in efficiency.

This means that a simpler, more robust and efficient unidirectional turbine can be used, rather than a bi-directional turbine used by conventional wave energy converters of this type, AMC said.

Gregor Macfarlane, Associate Professor who led the research at AMC, said: “With advanced measurement techniques using laser diagnostics, we looked very closely at how water flows in and out of the chamber. This allowed us to modify the geometry of the device to make further significant improvements in efficiency.”

The AMC team also performed experiments in extreme weather conditions to measure the loads experienced by the concrete structure. The information has been used by the structural engineers to ensure the concrete device will withstand the conditions of the Southern Ocean over a 25-year period, AMC said.

Source: Wave Swell plans wave device deployment off Tasmania | Tidal Energy Today

  1. Something similar was supposed to be the next greatest thing about 10-15 years ago off Scotland or Norn Iron? Concrete tube in which air was forced up and down with machinery completely out of the water, turbine working on both cycles.

  2. E.M.Smith says:

    Wake me up when one of these schemes actually installs and operates a system that makes a profit without subsidy…

  3. ferdberple says:

    a concrete device as outlined cannot survive on the ocean floor in shallow water for long. concrete is only 1.65 times the weight of water. and that assumes the structure is solid, which this is not. unless designed to hold fast to the ocean floor via suction, a breaking sea will overwhelm the structure..

  4. JB says:

    “The AMC team also performed experiments in extreme weather conditions” should be scrutinized. If anything, weather is never consistent. What is the contingency plan for the mother of all waves? Reduction of wave amplitude?

    10¢/kwh for operating a power station with a “free” energy source? That should be scrutinized too. Here, Ameren’s billed cost for power last month was 8.9¢/kwh (less all the hands in the pot taking their “share”). Suggests WSE has a very high overhead.

  5. oldbrew says:

    ‘The larger the scale, the cheaper the energy becomes to produce, and in the long run, the team believes it will be possible to get the price down to about AU$0.05 (US$0.04) per kWh.’


  6. Climatism says:

    Reblogged this on Climatism and commented:
    Hi hip hooray 🎉 Another taxpayer (other people’s money) funded, novelty energy, un-green fantasy that will fail to provide little more than a tea pot worth of energy, after MILLIONS upon MILLION of (other people’s) money!?
    We truly live in the age of collective “climate change” madness.

  7. oldbrew says:

    Their best bet may be to get it to be cheaper than wind turbines per unit of output.

  8. tom0mason says:

    This reminds me of the other get rich scheme reported earlier in the year —
    which may or may not have been an press release ahead of the April 1 deadline.

  9. Graeme No.3 says:

    This will be the third wave power device of this type installed in Australian waters.
    The latest was in South Australia.

  10. Stephen Richards says:

    So, 1.2 times more efficient than a very inefficient machine

  11. ivan says:

    So, they want to build a full size unit, are they going to put their money where their mouths are or are the public supposed to foot the bill via taxes?

    It should be the company using their investors money to build the full size unit and then try and sell the vast amounts of cheap electricity to the local grid. If it isn’t done that way it is nothing more than a scam perpetrated on the public.

  12. tallbloke says:

    Mackpilon: “Norn Iron”

    Heh, last saw that spelling long ago. You’re not a UKRMC veteran are you?

  13. p.g.sharrow says:

    A gravity concrete structure in 10 meters of water in the Bass Straits. Are they kidding?
    If the renderings are accurate, 1 real typhoon will rip this thing lose from the sea bed…pg

  14. oldbrew says:

    There’s a difference between 20% more efficient and 120% more efficient (= Wave Swell’s claim).

  15. oldbrew says:

    Daily Mail howler: ‘The system will be trialed off the coast of King Island, between Tanzania and Australia’ 😂

    But they do have some details of the experimental system, if you can get past the global warming baloney.

    Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-4501294/Artificial-blowhole-create-energy-waves.html

  16. gregole says:

    Is there a single wave generator that works anywhere in the world and actually produces salable energy? It seems to me just from casual but interested observation, that there’s always tremendous fanfare surrounding testing and installation, and then either nothing in the news, or news of catastrophic failure. Oceans are merciless. Do any of these contraptions work? Just asking.

  17. oldbrew says:

    gregole – probably not, if you mean anything like industrial scale.

    But they used to say man would never build a flying machine 😉

  18. Doonhamer says:

    Norn Iron still used by folk in Norn Iron. It perfectly represents the Belfast accent.
    Much like Embra in Scotland