Human Heart Inspires New Wave Power Device

By MarEx 2015-05-27 00:29:09

The Swedish Energy Agency has granted the company Corpower Ocean two million EUR to conduct tests of its innovative concept for wave power. The project is part of a larger collaboration with KIC InnoEnergy, the Spanish energy company Iberdrola and the Portuguese Research Institute WavEC Offshore Renewables.

Corpower will build a new prototype wave power plant and install it in the sea off Scotland. The wave power plant is inspired by the pumping principles of the human heart. CorPower founder Stig Lundbäck, MD, spent most of his life studying the pumping principles of the human heart. He invented the Dynamic Adaptive Piston Pump Technology (DAPPT) in 1984, and used his comprehensive knowledge to imagine and construct a wave power plant based on similar principles. The wave power plant has in recent years been supplemented with advanced control technology developed at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim.

“The Swedish Energy Agency's commitment is crucial to our continued development of commercially viable wave power. Our goal is to test the wave power plants in the sea off the coast of Scotland and show the same performance as in the previous scale trials in Portugal and France. If the project reaches the set goals, it will mark a major step forward for wave power,” says Patrik Möller, CEO of Corpower Ocean.

Although wave power is a significant energy resource with an appealing capacity, reliability problems and high costs have been a major obstacle to a large-scale deployment. Corpower's compact and robust wave power plant enables five times higher annual energy output per ton compared to conventional wave devices. Installing and testing a wave energy plant in the tough environment of the Atlantic is key step in the verification of Corpower's concept.

“The decision is part of the Swedish Energy Agency's investment in marine energy. Sweden has strong research and new innovative companies, which opens up opportunities for the Swedish export industry in this area,” says Rémy Kollesar, head of the Research and Innovation Department at the Swedish Energy Agency.

Among several other influential bodies, the World Energy Council has estimated the potential global output to about 2000 TWh per year, if only a robust and efficient design can be found. At this level, wave power would be on par with today's global output of hydropower.

How it Works

The resonant wave energy converters developed by CorPower have a heaving buoy on the surface absorbing energy from the combined surge and heave motion of the waves. This is connected to the seabed using a taut mooring line. The system has a pneumatic pre-tension module between the mooring line and the buoy to enable a lightweight system with high natural frequency of oscillation.

Corpower says it uses a new phase control method, so that the system’s wave energy converters always oscillate in resonance with the incoming waves, strongly amplifying their motion and power capture. Phase controlled oscillation offers an exceptionally high energy density, five times higher than conventional wave energy converters without phase control. The technology allows a large amount of energy to be harvested using a small device, says the company.