Marine Institute to research marine impact of new wave energy project

Scientists within Plymouth University’s Marine Institute are to be part of a new EUR 17 million EU Horizon 2020 funded research project that will test a new energy converter at Wave Hub, off the north coast of Cornwall.

The five-year Clean Energy From Ocean Waves (CEFOW) project is being coordinated by Nordic company Fortum and will involve a new design of convertor called ‘The Penguin’ – designed by Finnish firm Wello.  

Dr Emma Sheehan, a Research Fellow in the Marine Institute, will lead a team of Plymouth scientists, in conjunction with academics from the University of Exeter, to assess how this device interacts with the marine ecosystem.   

Heli Antila, Chief Technology Officer at Fortum, said: 

“Wave power may play an important role in the future as an emissions-free energy production form, and that is why Fortum is participating in the research and development efforts. By this project we are expecting to increase our capabilities and skills in the field of wave power.  We believe that the funding from the European Commission and the experienced collaboration partners create excellent conditions for making great strides forward in commercialising Wello’s wave power technology. On a global scale, this project is at the vanguard of wave power research."

The partnership also includes Mojo Maritime Ltd, Wave Hub Limited, Green Marine (UK) Ltd, and Uppsala University.

Dr Sheehan said: 

“This is a hugely exciting research and development project, and it’s tremendous recognition once again of the expertise that we have, not just here in Plymouth, but across the South West, that we’re an integral part of the impact study. We will be working with local fishermen during the course of the research, using our flying array to assess how the device interacts with the marine ecosystem.” 

Fortum signed a leasing agreement in February 2014 with the Wave Hub test facility to test wave power solutions off the coast of Cornwall in Great Britain. The agreement offers Fortum a new opportunity to trial run full-scale wave power devices in ocean conditions.