High performance concrete advances ocean wave energy extraction

Sources: Ocean Harvesting, Gothenburg, Sweden; CP staff

Swedish Energy Agency-backed researchers optimizing wave energy convertor (WEC) design and materials have pegged highly flowable, high performance concrete mixes as especially suiting the outer shell and internal thin walls of honeycomb structures, or hulls, serving as buoys for the InfinityWEC assembly. The concrete buoy has equal weight but can be delivered at one-quarter the cost and fabricated onsite 10 times faster than a conventional steel alternative.  

InfinityWEC is the product of Oceanwave Energy, which characterizes wave energy and its technology as “a vast resource of renewable energy that can produce electricity more consistently and at different times than wind and solar—increas[ing] the value of produced electricity and reduc[ing] the energy storage needed to balance the grid. InfinityWEC is a novel wave energy converter with a breakthrough power take-off and control system, providing an outstanding annual energy production by maximizing the energy output from every individual wave.” Compared to floating wind power components and structures, the company adds, InfinityWEC yields installed megawatt capacity at one-sixth the cost and half the material requirements.

The self-consolidating, high performance mixes net a robust, lightweight InfinityWEC buoy.

Ocean Harvesting conferred with the RISE Research Institutes of Sweden on the HPC mixes and, more recently, NSK Europe on the InfinityWEC power take-off concept, combining ball screw actuators and a hydrostatic pre-tension system. Coupled with additional funding, the RISE and NSK work sets the table for a 2025-2026 sea pilot testing a field of 1:3 scale InfinityWEC assemblies.

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