Dual Sub combines wind and waves

WaveSub installation process
WaveSub installation process
WaveSub offered a strong, stable platform on which a turbine could be installed
WaveSub offered a strong, stable platform on which a turbine could be installed

A Swansea, UK-based wave energy company has unveiled plans to combine a floating wave energy device to make it suitable as a base for a floating wind generator.

Wave energy technology developer Marine Power Systems (MPS) has revealed its plans for expansion into the floating offshore wind sector with two devices that offer a viable solution to wind energy generation in deep water locations. Established over 10 years ago, MPS is in the final stages of development for its wave energy device, WaveSub which is a device designed to addresses the challenges of wave energy generation at sea.

WaveSub’s stability in deep ocean water prompted MPS to explore its suitability for use as a platform for wind turbines, particularly in locations where wind speeds are high but water depths make a fixed base turbine too costly to install. Initial tests revealed that WaveSub offered a strong, stable platform on which a turbine could be installed, enabling the simultaneous capture of wave and wind energy from the ocean. Essentially the WaveSub can be adapted to be a floating wind turbine and wave energy device in one.

Following further research and development MPS has developed two new devices, DualSub that captures both wave and wind energy, and WindSub that captures wind energy only. These devices have successfully completed prototype stability tests, detailed computational simulation and cost of energy modeling. Positive results have led MPS to accelerate the development of WindSub and DualSub to a scaled up prototype to bring them to the point of market readiness.

“As we moved into the final stages of development for our WaveSub wave energy generation device, it became apparent that many of its features make it well suited to the needs of the floating offshore wind sector”, commented Dr Graham Foster, the Chief Technology Officer at Marine Power Systems. “With extensive testing and computational modelling complete, we’re confident that our wind energy offerings, DualSub and WindSub can offer a market leading solution to the challenges of wind energy generation in deep water. This is a hugely exciting time for MPS and we look forward to further developing our offshore wind technologies alongside our WaveSub device during 2019.”

The device is based on a tubular steel lattice structure that is kept afloat by floatation chambers and which is moored in position by means of a tension leg system similar to that used in the offshore oil and gas industry. In the wave generating mode this lattice structure supports the wave generating capsules which float under the surface. The lattice structure has been strengthened to support the lattice tower that is turn supports the wind turbine pylon and the wind generator. The WaveSub captures the wave energy through the oscillating movement of floatation devices that are located below the surface allowing the oscillations to turn the turbines. With most of the structure below the sea surface it is less liable to damage by extreme seas.

The UK currently generates 8% of its electricity from offshore wind with around 70% of the offshore wind farms located along the East Coast of the UK where the seas are shallower and fixed base turbines are easily installed. DualSub and WindSub will undoubtedly open new areas of coastline in the UK where wind speeds are higher but water depth is greater and the installation of fixed base wind turbines are deemed prohibitively expensive.

Having been successfully tested at quarter scale, and now under development at full scale, MPS’s WaveSub device has been financed through a mixture of public and private investment including WEFO (European Regional Development Funds) and Innovate UK.

By Dag Pike

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