Final LAMWEC tank tests complete prior to EMEC deployment

An earlier LAMWEC test deployment was conducted in Belgian waters An earlier LAMWEC test deployment was conducted in Belgian waters

Belguim-headquartered wave energy company Laminaria’s wave energy converter (WEC) has completed tank testing at the Coastal, Ocean and Sediment Transport (COAST) laboratory at Plymouth University, UK.

Building on initial tank tests in 2016, the latest testing programme has been supported by MaRINET2 which supports marine energy developers in accessing a range of testing facilities.

A 1/30 scale model of Laminaria’s 200kW WEC, which is being designed as part of the OCEANERA-NET LAMWEC project, was put through its paces and demonstrated survivability in extreme sea states.

LAMWEC’s focus is to prove the survivability of a pre-commercial scale WEC which incorporates Laminaria’s innovative load management mechanism and storm protection system.

During tank tests, the WEC endured the equivalent of significant wave heights of up to 16m, demonstrating that the survival mechanism can reduce loads to a chosen limit during extreme circumstances.

Production of the full-scale Laminaria WEC is now underway and is due to be completed by April 2018 in preparation for deployment at EMEC’s Billia Croo wave test site later in the year.

Laminaria’s CEO Steven Nauwelaerts oversaw the tests: “The support from MaRINET2 and OCEANERA-NET have helped us a great deal in de-risking the full-scale deployment due at EMEC this year. With the completion of the latest tank testing we are confident our WEC will be able to handle the challenging wave resource at EMEC and more.”

Funded by OCEANERA-NET, the LAMWEC project seeks to develop and test a 200kW Laminaria wave energy converter (WEC), through complementary research and test activities aimed at defining all the design improvements needed for upscaling the prototype tested in the North Sea.

The LAMWEC project will take a number of important steps to develop the Laminaria WEC and prove its survivability. These steps include:

1. The design and build of a 200kW Laminaria WEC incorporating a scaled-up version of the power take-off (PTO) and storm protection system;
2. The development of a new anchor design suitable for a range of seabed configurations;
3. The development of a mooring and pulley system for the 11.8m diameter (270 tonne) device that will support the innovative storm protection system, PTO, and frame; and
4. Performance assessment of the full-scale device at TRL 7 in real sea conditions at the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) in Orkney, Scotland.

The LAMWEC project is made up of a consortium of ocean energy experts, with over 30 years of combined practical experience in the sector. The consortium is led by Laminaria, and includes EMEC, Innosea, Ghent University, and TTI Testing.

MaRINET2 is a €10.5m project funded by the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 programme with a network of 39 partners in 13 European countries.

By Jake Frith

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