The 16 kW Archimedes Waveswing wave energy converter, developed by AWS Ocean Energy, has arrived in Orkney ahead of its imminent deployment at the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC).

Waveswing being offloaded at Coplands dock, Orkney. Credit: Colin Keldie.

Weighing in at 50 tons, the seven-metre high, four-metre diameter device travelled to Orkney by ferry following a period of dry testing undertaken by the AWS engineering team at Muir of Ord.

When deployed, the Archimedes Waveswing is moored to the seabed and sits below the surface of the sea, reacting to changes in pressure caused by passing waves. It is moored on a single tension tether. The subsea location and ability to winch low in the water column enables extreme storm loadings to be avoided so that the device can continue to operate in rough sea conditions. The Waveswing is designed to react to long ocean swell waves as well as short, wind-driven seas, for high energy capture.

The prototype project has been funded by Wave Energy Scotland (WES) as part of the Novel Wave Energy Converter development programme. The demonstration at EMEC is also supported by the Interreg North-West Europe’s Ocean DEMO project.

Simon Grey, CEO of AWS Ocean Energy said:

“This is another major step forward in the development programme, underlining our confidence that the Waveswing really is the best prospect for practical, affordable wave power. The whole team at AWS is looking forward to getting our at-sea testing programme underway at EMEC.

Our current Waveswing design has been designed as a single unit capable of delivering power to remote assets such as subsea oilfield or oceanographic monitoring equipment, however we see this as a stepping stone to utility-scale power with multiple Waveswing units integrated into a single generation platform. AWS expect to develop platforms hosting up to 20 off 500kW units with a potential capacity of 10 MW per platform.

The exciting thing about Waveswing is that it’s genuinely scalable and practical to integrate into a multi-absorber platform. Achieving power outputs comparable with offshore wind units is critical to driving down the cost of energy and ensuring that operation and maintenance is practicable in the hostile marine environment.”

The Waveswing development programme has been supported by a strong, predominantly Scottish team of subcontractors including 4c Engineering and Quoceant on design, Sequentec on supply of the control system, Malin Marine for the main build and assembly work, and JGC Engineering for fabrication of the anchor frame. International subcontractors include Trelleborg for supply of the rolling seal and SRP Subsea for supply of the Rocksteady mooring connector. Marine operations for deployment of the device will be carried out by Stromness-based Green Marine.