- Funding: EPSRC, 2021-24
- University of Plymouth staff: Professor Deborah Greaves OBE (Project Lead), Dr Martyn Hann, Dr Maozhou Meng, Dr Shanshan Cheng, Dr Edward Ransley, Dr Siming Zheng
Innovation in wave energy
Wave energy converters (WECs) offer opportunities for niche (powering aquaculture and offshore stations) and grid-scale applications. But they require innovation to accelerate their development and unlock the potential of wave energy, reduce energy costs and prove wave energy as a competitor against other renewable energy options.
FlexWave seeks to improve the design, manufacture and survivability of flexible WECs. It will investigate intelligent design concepts to explore whether types of rubber, composites and polymers can be effective in improving performance, reliability and reduce costs compared to current available materials. Testing will also include how materials hold up against extreme storms and sea conditions, which present a significant challenge to existing WEC designs.
The project will unite experts in hydrodynamics, materials and deployable structures and conduct extensive design analysis and numerical modelling simulations of flexible fabric WECs, alongside physical tests in the COAST Laboratory.
The researchers will also work closely with the advisory board and wider industry to ensure any technology developed can be applied in real-world settings.
Press release: Research investigates effectiveness of flexible materials in wave energy devices