AW-Energy Ltd., a Finnish company working in the wave energy technology sector, recently had its flagship product—the WaveRoller—revalidated with the Solar Impulse Efficient Solution label, based on an assessment by independent experts using verified standards.
The experts evaluated the energy solution according to five criteria reflecting the three main ideas of feasibility, environmental and profitability.
“This revalidation successfully identifies the economic profitability of WaveRoller that protects the environment,” stated Christopher Ridgewell, CEO of AW-Energy. “The Solar Impulse Foundation has validated our WaveRoller wave energy technology as one of their 1,000 solutions that protect the environment in a profitable way, and has re-issued us the Solar Impulse Efficient Solutions Label.” The WaveRoller received its first certification in 2019.
The WaveRoller is a submerged oscillating wave surge converter capable of producing consistent renewable energy from ocean waves. Its foundation is a floating concrete barge that can be towed by a tugboat to the installation site, where its hinged panel is attached to the seabed not far from the shore.
In simple terms, it generates electricity from the movement of ocean waves. More specifically, the panel, one of its three main subsystems, moves in the ocean, absorbing energy from the waves. The panel is connected to a mechanical drivetrain that pumps hydraulic fluid inside a closed-loop circuit, which is then fed into a power storage and smoothing system. That system connects to a hydraulic motor that drives an electric generator.
Electrical output from this power plant connects to the electric grid through a subsea cable and a substation on land. One unit, consisting of a panel and power take-off combination, is rated between 250 kilowatts (kW) and 1,000 kW. The WaveRoller is capable of supporting grid stability through fast frequency response of 2–10 seconds.
Because all the elements of the hydraulic circuit are enclosed inside the device, there is no risk of contamination of the marine environment. In fact, the WaveRoller has environmental benefits, such as a carbon intensity of power generation up to 85% lower than existing levels and a life-cycle carbon intensity about 30% lower than solar photovoltaic panels.
Wave energy conversion has been around since the late 19th century, with more than hundreds of patents filed. Wave energy converters operate on the simple platform of capturing energy from the motion of surface waves on the ocean. Modular devices can be located offshore or near the shore, often deployed in arrays.
Use of the WaveRoller alleviates the reliance on fossil fuels, with their resulting pollution. Making use of wave energy for production of renewable electricity has financial benefits as well, such as eliminating the need to purchase fuel such as coal, oil or gas to generate electricity.
As one of the labelled 1,000 solutions, a Solar Impulse Foundation initiative to encourage adoption of environmentally friendly technology, WaveRoller will be introduced to businesses and governments as a profitable and sustainable means of energy production ready for widespread implementation.
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