Global marine renewable energy firm offers students a glimpse of the future

One of the world’s leading marine renewable energy companies has provided industry representatives, academics and students at Plymouth University with a priceless insight into its commercial journey.

Australian-based Carnegie Wave Energy (ASX: CWE) took time out from conducting an exhaustive array of tests on their CETO 6 device in the University’s Marine Building to discuss issues around research and development, and commercialisation.

The company’s UK CEO, Tim Sawyer, and its Senior Hydrodynamics Engineer, Dr Ashkan Rafiee, also facilitated a demonstration of its cutting edge wave energy device, which differs from its competitors by operating underwater.

Tim said: 

“These tests are aimed at evaluating and informing the design of our CETO 6 technology ahead of larger scale work in open water environments. We’re in the process of conducting more than 340 separate tests, putting the technology through a range of different simulated operational and extreme sea states.” 

At a seminar on Thursday, Tim addressed an audience that included members of the Partnership for Research in Marine Renewable Energy (PRIMaRE), and masters students on Plymouth’s marine renewable energy postgraduate degree, with a session entitled ‘A Wave Developer’s Pathway to Commercialisation’, in which he outlined the development of CWE.

Stuart Herbert, the Commercial Director of Wave Hub, picked up on that theme as he provided his insight into some of the key issues in the sector – and the South West’s place within it.

After further sessions with Plymouth academics Professor Deborah Greaves and Dr Daniel Conley, the CETO 6 device was introduced and demonstrated by Dr Ashkan Rafiee, in the Coastal, Ocean and Sediment Transport Laboratory (COAST) of the Marine Building.

Professor Greaves, Director of the COAST Lab, said: 

“We are delighted to be hosting and working with Carnegie Wave Energy on such a comprehensive testing programme and to be discussing opportunities for further collaboration. Their visit has also enabled us to bring together industry representatives, academics and students for discussion and exploration of key issues in the sector – and thanks to Carnegie, we have gained a valuable insight into their remarkable commercial journey.”

“Working with academics at specialist facilities such as COAST is an important part of our strategic approach to developing our CETO technology,” added Tim. “And it was great that we were able to include these postgraduate students in these discussions because many will go on to build their careers in our sector.”

CWE is the latest organisation to make use of the University’s COAST Lab, which provides physical model testing with combined waves, currents and wind, offered at scales appropriate for device testing, array testing, environmental modelling and coastal engineering.

Coastal, Ocean And Sediment Transport (COAST) laboratory

This is a flexible facility with the capability to generate short and long-crested waves in combination with currents at any relative direction, sediment dynamics, tidal effects and wind.

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This basin can be used to create unidirectional and directional wave fields, regular waves, wave spectra and currents in three dimensions putting it at the forefront of testing for marine renewable energy arrays. Future developments of the facility include the provision of a wind generation facility.

Wave generation capabilities

The paddles produce regular waves with an approximate maximum height of 0.9m at 0.4 Hz and wave height above 0.2m in a range of 0.166 Hz – 1 Hz. Wave synthesising software allows long and short-crested spectral sea states to be generated as well as special wave effects. Oblique waves can be comfortably generated up to 40° from normal.

Technical specification

The Ocean Basin is 35m long by 15.5m wide with a moveable floor that allows different operating depths of up to 3m.

Paddles

  • waves are generated by 24 individually controlled hinged flap absorbing paddles
  • dry-backed 2.0m hinge depth.

Currents

  • the recirculating hydraulic system provides longitudinal current up to 0.3m/s for a 2.0m water depth
  • a multi-pump recirculating hydraulic system provides the transverse current, enabling a mean flow speed of 0.3m/s at 2.0m depth.

Floor

Slope of up to 6° along the basin maximum point load of 500kg.

Absorbing beach

  • convex beach to minimise reflected wave energy
  • 1.0m x 0.5m grid of M12 threads throughout the central section of the tank providing mooring capabilities.