Unique technology developed to harness marine energy

Marine Power Systems, based in Swansea in South Wales, is Wales’ leading wave energy technology developer. The company has developed the WaveSub energy converter, a device that redefines technical boundaries to capture the energy potential of ocean waves.

“The results of our work to date have proven that the WaveSub solves the key challenges that face wave energy devices and we feel Marine Power Systems is one of the key companies leading the way in terms of technological advancements in harnessing this abundant form of energy.” Dr Gareth Stockman - Managing Director, Marine Power Systems.

The technology has the potential to reduce the costs associated with this method of energy generation, and the company is currently creating a prototype to be tested in Milford Haven and FaBTest in Falmouth Bay. The results of this project will inform the development of a full-scale version of the device.

The team at Marine Power Systems has made significant progress to date; having created an initial prototype device for sea trials and energy generation tests with successful results, the engineers proved the operating principles and ability of the technology to create energy.

Following on from this, further evaluation projects have been carried out to explore the cost of installation and maintenance of the technology, as well as the cost of delivering the energy. The results highlighted the substantially reduced costs associated with energy generation from waves in comparison to other technologies.

Currently, Marine Power Systems is in the process of designing, building and testing a quarter-scale prototype at sea. This allows the team to put all planning into practice and directly address the fundamental challenges facing devices that use wave energy.

The unique technology can exploit the energy of a wide range of waves, in almost any offshore environment. With a subsurface orbiting energy capture system, the WaveSub harnesses the entire energy cycle of the wave. The device is depthadjustable, allowing it to descend beneath storms when necessary and combat the harsh and dynamic weather environment. The floating surface configuration of the device makes it easy to transport, install and maintain, and its small size and simple shape ensures it can be manufactured at a low cost.

Using wave energy as a global resource could significantly reduce the dependency on fossil fuels and carbon emissions. The EU aims to get 20% of its energy from renewable sources by 2020, and the oceans surrounding the UK are a resource that could provide 50 terawatts per hour (TWh) of energy, offering the United Kingdom the unique opportunity to become a global leader in the development of wave energy technology.

Original Article in Advances Wales.