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Press release: LAMWEC tank tests demo innovative storm protection system

Laminaria’s wave energy converter (WEC) has undergone tank testing at the Coastal, Ocean and Sediment Transport (COAST) laboratory at Plymouth University, as part of the LAMWEC project.

Funded under the OCEANERA-NET First Joint Call 2014, in association with Scottish Enterprise, Innovate UK, and IWT, the LAMWEC project seeks to develop and test a full-scale 200kW Laminaria WEC.

As a key challenge for the wave energy sector is the survivability of WECs in extreme storm conditions, the main focus of LAMWEC is to prove the survivability of a pre-commercial scale WEC which incorporates Laminaria’s innovative load management mechanism and storm protection system.

Leading the design simulations work package for LAMWEC, Innosea tested a 1/16 scale model at COAST to explore the load regimes that the device will experience when it is tested at full-scale at the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) in 2017.

Rémy Pascal, Specialist Engineer at Innosea oversaw the tests:

“The tank tests provided insight into the optimum size of the device in regard to site specific wave conditions for overall performance. Most crucially, we found that the device performance at the EMEC wave test site could be significantly improved by using a larger device than the one initially planned for before the tank tests.

“Additionally, the tests show that clever use of submergence will allow control of the power being captured regardless of the significant wave height, which is a positive outcome concerning the dimensioning of the power take-off (PTO).”

Laminaria’s CEO Steven Nauwelaerts added that the results of the tank tests have provided confidence in the concept of the survival mechanism – a key element of the LAMWEC design:

“The irregular wave tests proved that the concepts for the two survival mechanisms work: both the overdrive mechanism and the submergence efficiently managed to keep the loads in the mooring lines below a programmable threshold. The results from these tests will be invaluable to the other work packages in the LAMWEC project, informing the development of the anchor system, moorings, storm protection system, and PTO.

“A great start for a very exciting project.”

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