A radical new solution for economically viable wave energy
WaveNET is an offshore array-based wave energy converter that uses the motion of waves to generate electricity. The floating structure of the WaveNET is flexible in all directions, and capable of capturing power from the ocean regardless of wave direction and array orientation.
WaveNET arrays are formed by interconnecting the unique SQUID generating units. The first development scale of WaveNET is Series-6, designed to operate in in a minimum water depth of 20m and to generate electricity in waves with heights ranging from 0.3m to 6m.
WaveNET’s strongest features come from being designed and engineered from the start to function as an array of linked units
The most significant benefits of this array-based approach to wave energy come from improvements in power yield and potentially dramatic reductions in project costs.
Benefits of WaveNET arrays
Modular and scalable
WaveNET arrays are configurable to match site conditions and project power requirements.
By increasing the length of the array WaveNET can capture more power from longer waves, increasing the width allows WaveNET to capture more energy from lower density sites.
WaveNET’s uniquely flexible design allows it to track the full orbital motion of the fluid particles in the ocean waves, as well as providing very efficient use of sea space and wave resource.
As much as 300 MW per km² is possible for large arrays. This compares to 15-20 MW/ km² for other wave devices, with offshore wind typically in the range of 10 MW/km².
The space-frame type construction of the array allows these large amounts of sea area to be covered using comparatively small amounts of material, resulting in an exceptionally high power to weight ratio.
Interlinked WaveNET units react against the rest of the array to deliver dramatic non-linear yield improvements as array dimensions increase.
This is a unique property of WaveNET that has a strong influence on the economics of future wave farms.
The SQUID generating units feature an innovative patented pumping module design, which avoids the use of mechanical end-stops. This is an extremely important feature for wave energy converters where storm conditions can create large waves with very high energy levels that can destroy normally robust systems.
Added to this, WaveNET’s low profile in the water, flexible structure and a mooring system featuring multiple points of connection allows large waves to pass over and submerge some or all of the array, minimising any potential damage.
Low visual impact
Using small repeated units to build large arrays helps to reduce the capital and operational costs of wave energy.
Each SQUID generating unit uses a number of shared standard components which, as production volumes increase, should lead to dramatic savings in per unit costs. Some of these savings are already being seen from the first run of Series-6 units.
Small unit size helps minimise the costs of deploying and maintaining WaveNET arrays
Series-6 SQUID units are road transportable on standard articulated trailers and can be easily deployed and maintained using cranes and vessels already operating in an area.
The array’s shared mooring allows for dramatic reductions in required seabed ‘balance of plant’ electrical infrastructure (junction boxes, transformers, wet mate connectors etc.) – all of this means reduced costs for larger arrays.
A further operational cost benefit comes from WaveNET’s submerged profile. Arrays can be navigated with small vessels, making access to individual devices for maintenance and inspection tasks easy.
WaveNET arrays are fully redundant systems and have a number of unique features to maintain high availability regardless of individual component or device failures.
- Each unit makes three connections to the mooring grid and can be isolated from the rest of the array for maintenance or in the event of failure
- Multiple power-take-off (PTO) modules within the array act in parallel – if one fails the others will automatically maintain production
- The array’s hydraulic network has automatic cut-off valves to protect against local failures. Any failed region is automatically isolated allowing continued operation