Wave Energy Prize Team Updates

The Wave Energy Prize is a public prize challenge sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)‘s Water Power Program. The prize is designed to increase the diversity of organizations involved in Wave Energy Converter (WEC) technology development, while motivating and inspiring existing stakeholders. DOE envisions this competition will achieve game-changing performance enhancements to WEC devices, establishing a pathway to sweeping cost reductions on a commercial scale.

The Wave Energy Prize has passed through the third of four Technology Gates, and the official 9 Finalist Teams are now preparing for Technology Gate 4 which will begin in August.

Here are the updates from some of the teams:

Sea PotentialSea Potential Wave energy prize

We were setup and ready for some wet-testing in University of Maine’s new W2 Wind-Wave Basin we  got confirmation thatwe were going to Carderock.

It has been a great effort to date from all involved with the Sea Potential team and we’ll be doing everything we can to bring the prize back to the “Ocean State”.

We had heard about the impressive facilities in UMaine’s Orono campus from the teams that did their 50th scale tests at the W2 Wind-Wave Basin and were looking forward to getting the DUO launched into action.

Oscilla PowerOscilla POwer wave energy prize

Oscilla Power has just returned from a productive week of tank testing at University of Maine’s W2 basin. Testing of the 1:20 scale Triton WEC went smoothly and power results showed good agreement with our numerical model predictions. Design improvements implemented between the 1:50 and 1:20 rounds of the competition proved fruitful in significantly boosting WEC’s wideband power capture.

With a big thank you to the staff at the University of Maine, the 1:20 Triton model is now en route to the MASK basin, and we look forward to official testing in September.

Harvest Wave Energy

The Wave Energy Prize final round build has been such an exciting challenge that it is bittersweet to say goodbye for a little while to our 1:20th prototype. Next stop, the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Carderock Division. It is going to be a long month waiting for our chance to test.

We can’t end without a big thank you to our corporate partner, Resolved Analytics, for all of the excellent CFD modeling support they have provided that has helped us optimize our WEC power capture.

M3 WaveM3Wave Wave energy prize

In June we did a “wet run” in the wave tank at Hinsdale at Oregon State University.

We tested punt deployment, rigging to morring system, remote descent to operational depth, mooring dynamics, and line tending/device management under crane.

We also ran waves and collected power data.

Finally, for fun, we ran bigger waves at a shallower-than-normal operating depth just to stress test the system.  After a successful week in the tank, we packed up.



AquaHarmonicsAquaHarmonics wave energy prize

Team AquaHarmonics is nearly across the finish line! Since our testing at Oregon State University, we have made some updates to the device and controls software and built a mobile work bench that will serve as our base of operations during testing at Carderock.

We were able to get some volunteer help from my brother in law with the work bench and packing to help get everything complete prior to shipping-thanks Reuben! Our container is packed with our device, spares, tools and our mobile workbench/control center awaiting to be picked up.

We are very excited to start testing at Carderock, and are also looking forward to a small break before final testing!

SEWECsewec wave energy prize

The last month has seen a flurry of activity. On June 19th we finished the 1/20th scale model and loaded it into the crate (Photo Patrick with crate) in California. Over the next 3 days it was driven non-stop across the USA to Maine whereupon Nick G, Nick W and Sean prepped it for operation (see photo Sean and Nick with wires) in the new wave tank at the University of Maine Advanced Structures and Composites Center in Orono. Sewec 1/20 was splashed on June 28th and floated to her marks! We then spent five days putting her through her paces – and everything worked – thanks to Byron and Nick G. We even ran the configuration to skip every second wave – reported as a simulation curiosity in an earlier team update – see the video https://youtu.be/hRo8dCcDndc so bravo to Sewec’s numerical modelling crew. And a big thank you to Anthony Viselli, Matt Fowler and Matt Cameron who got us up and running and got a ton of data for us at U of M.

Then back into the crate (see photo Tom with crate 2) minus PTO valve and orifice plates which we finally calibrated the following week at San Jose State University, in an upgraded rig. Back on the plane to Bangor the following Monday with the valve and orifices, get Sewec out of the crate and run a vacuum test at the U of M. The Advanced Structures and Composites Center routinely vacuum bag their composites and they kindly deployed their equipment and considerable expertise to evacuate and catch every last air leak on Sewec. The photo (Chris with vacuum) shows Chris Urquhart, vacuum maestro at U of M listening for leaks and photo (0.28 psia) shows the steady state value we ultimately reached of 0.28 psia. We need 1/20th of an atmosphere absolute (0.75 psia) in the Carderock test to account for scaling of the OWC air volume, so we should be ok. As far as we know, this will be the first time this technique has been used to increase scale model air elasticity so we really wanted to be sure we could pump 95% of the air out of Sewec, without leaks or structural collapse. Our fabricator Tom Johansing ran a stress analysis in May and said then “You’re good”. Thanks to Tom we are good to go.

Our team is the last to test at Carderock and this thought cheered me a lot as I loaded Sewec back in the crate Friday evening. Team Sewec “has a wrap” and is looking forward to an extended summer break.

RTI Wave PowerRTI wave power wave energy prize

June was the first month in the water for our RTI F2 QD. Our “first splash” and “first waves” were in the UNH Chase Labs deep tank and wave tank, respectively (RTI Teammates Toby Dewhurst and Sean Lewis in lower left, setting up for “first waves”). All key components arrived in time for a final assembly by mid-June. A special thanks to team sponsors Sensata-BEI (providing marine grade high resolution encoders), Interface (submersible Load Cells) and UNH Chase Labs (wave tank access).

A successful series of shakedown and preliminary performance tests were conducted in late June at the U. of Maine, Alfond W2 Wind-Wave Facility in Orono Maine (photo lower right). This new world class wave tank facility with its 5 meter depth and Edinburgh Engineering wave makers allowed us to more closely simulate the ONR Carderock Mask basin Wave Energy Prize test conditions. Apparently many of the 9 Finalists also discovered this facility with others testing before and after us. This was the first time our electrical and control system (developed by our Marquette U. E&C group of Drew Maatman and Ramin Katebi under Dr. Nathan Weise plus Diane Liskey) was merged with our RTI F2 QD hydrodynamic and mechanical hardware numerically modeled, designed and fabricated by our Maine/New Hampshire group of Sean Lewis, Toby Dewhurst, Dick Akers, Mike Macnicoll and yours truly, John Rohrer).

Convergence on the most cost effective ocean survivable Wave Energy Converter (WEC) configuration (a major objective of the Wave Energy Prize) is essential before the nascent WEC industry can effectively tap the huge global wave energy resource which has several times more energy density than the solar and wind energy which produces ocean waves. We continue to believe this WEC convergence is pointing towards surface deployed elongated wave terminator type WECs intercepting maximum wave front using minimum vessel volume (and cost). The patented RTI F2 QD is the only such WEC which floods and totally submerges its elongated surface float safely below the troughs of even 15 meter high waves for secure survival in seas which would destroy other surface WECs.

CalWave Power Technologies

After completion of our pretesting and the positive notification of advancing to Technology Gate 4, CalWave is finalizing its 1/20 scale prototype for shipment.

The results of the pretesting is used to further validate our numerical model and control strategy.

Our team is looking forward to the final testing at MASK.

Waveswing Americawavespring wave energy prize

The Waveswing America team has been working hard to finish the build and testing of the 1:20 scale Waveswing with excellent results. Our direct-drive PTO unit is working better than expected with excellent force and velocity control response which allows us to implement the most advanced control strategies available. Combined with the low absorber mass giving excellent response and the low structural volume, we really feel that the Waveswing is the Ferrari of wave power!

We have now assembled the complete system at the University of Iowa wave tank and commence testing in earnest tomorrow. This will allow us to tune the control system and iron out any problems with the device before finally packing up for shipping to Carderock. It is really pleasing to see the efforts of so many different people all coming together to
produce such a great result.


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