Flexible Responsive Systems in Wave Energy: FlexWave model
Title: Flexible Responsive Systems in Wave Energy: FlexWave
Funding body: EPSRC (EP/V04036/1)
Funding period: 2021–2024
Principle Researchers:
University of Oxford: Professor Zhong You
University of Southampton: Professor John Chaplin
Post-Doctoral Research Assistants:
University of Plymouth: Dr Krishnendu Puzhukkil and Dr Xinyu Wang
University of Oxford: Dr Jingyi Yang
Project Partners: Bombora Wave Power Europe, BP, Checkmate Flexible Engineering, Griffon Hoverworks Ltd, LOC Group (London Offshore Consultants), NREL (National Renewable Energy Laboratory), Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult, Private Address, Rod Rainey & Associates, Seawind Ocean Technology Ltd, Single Buoy Moorings Inc., Wave Energy Scotland, Wave Venture Ltd 

The FlexWave project aims at a step change reduction in cost of energy and pathway to utility scale and niche application Wave Energy converter (WEC) designs using Flexible Responsive systems in wave energy.

Offshore renewable energy (ORE) has a significant role to play to meet the rising demand for clean energy. Energy from ocean waves has huge potential, however, lack of cost competitive design and their survivability in storm waves is a challenge to overcome. The present project aims to design flexible WECs which can naturally avoid stress concentration by collapsing/folding under wave impact. A novel origami approach will be investigated to design the flexible responsive systems. The polymer material properties and their performance in different flexible WEC designs will be assessed. Also, the power generation efficiency of the flexible WECs with distributed power take-off systems and novel power take-off systems will be analysed.

Work package:

Work Package

The hydrodynamic performance of flexible responsive systems for wave energy conversion, their optimisation in operating conditions, and their ability to survive storm waves, will be assessed through a programme of wave basin experiments and numerical modelling of flexible WEC concepts. 

The specific objective of the project includes:

1. Identifying the most promising flexible WEC configurations

2. Hydrodynamic investigation of flexible responsive WEC systems using numerical modelling and laboratory scale tests

3. Design and structural analysis of origami-based flexible responsive structures in WEC operating modes

4. Assessment of polymer materials manufacture and performance in flexible WEC applications

5. Assessment of the hydrodynamic performance and delivery of the design specification of flexible responsive WEC systems

6. Demonstration of the pathway to cost reduction and specification of recommendations for the implementation of flexible responsive systems for wave energy conversion

Flexible responsive systems in wave energy offer opportunities for niche (powering aquaculture and offshore stations) and grid scale applications, augmenting to UK’s larger vision of achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.