Marine Power Systems (MPS), a company developing revolutionary technology designed to capture the energy from ocean waves, has recently been awarded £200,000 of energy catalyst funding from Innovate UK, the UK's innovation agency.
The funding has been awarded for a 12 month project, which formally began this month (October 2016) to deliver the modelling, design, build, test and validation of MPS' next-generation WaveSub wave energy converter (WEC). The project will run in partnership with the University of Bath, which is home to experts in power-take-off modelling and design.
The project will allow the Swansea-based company to assess the feasibility of a next-generation WaveSub device with the aim of multi-megawatt output. The project will also enable MPS to determine further reductions in levelised cost of energy (LCOE), which are achievable through reduced capital and maintenance costs per megawatt.
Assessments will be made from computational simulation, tank testing and LCOE modelling. The results will be directly utilised in the design of the full scale WaveSub device.
MPS is currently engaged in its 1:4 scale WaveSub prototype project, which has been part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government, with MPS receiving a £2 million grant in October 2015.
Innovate UK works with people, companies and partner organisations to find and drive the science and technology innovations that will grow the UK economy. It aims to help stimulate and support innovation through funding, taking projects from concept to commercial readiness and brings the best ideas, processes, products and skills to the UK energy supply chain.
Dr Gareth Stockman, co-founder and managing director of Marine Power Systems, said:
“It is a credit to the team that Innovate UK has awarded this funding to MPS. Energy catalyst is hugely competitive due to the fact that it is open to all companies across the UK and is not specific to marine renewables. It is for any businesses with the aim of reducing emissions, improving security of supply, and reducing cost of energy.”
Every day, one terawatt hour (TWh) of wave energy enters UK waters, which is equivalent to the UK's daily electricity consumption. In order to harness this energy and exploit the commercial opportunity presented, MPS have developed and patented the ‘WaveSub Wave Energy Converter'. This game-changing device tackles the energy trilemma head on, being capable of providing sustainable and cost-effective renewable energy generation. The technology has huge potential to contribute to energy security targets and will reduce reliance on unpredictable and non-renewable energy supplies.
Dr Stockman added:
“Working together with our partners, the University of Bath and specialist subcontractors, MPS are embarking on a 12-month project to build, test and validate a next-generation WaveSub prototype. The next-generation device will unlock WaveSub's long-term levelised cost of energy wave-to-wire efficiencies, to allow WaveSub to compete with conventional energy generation without subsidies, when fully commercialised.”
Dr Andy Hillis, senior lecturer in mechanical engineering at the University of Bath, said:
“This project is a great opportunity to continue our relationship with MPS. The next-generation WaveSub device presents new challenges in terms of power-take-off system design and control. It also presents new opportunities to develop our fundamental understanding of the device behavior and how to maximise its efficiency. We are very much looking forward to the next 12 months.”