Wednesday, 17 May 2017

What are we spending money on that doesn't generate power?

When we generate power from a renewable source, we don't pay for the fuel. We pay for the build and operation of the plant. So conversion efficiency doesn't tell us much. Instead we are interested in how the project costs translate into the energy generated.

As energy = stroke x load, we can also ask which of the project costs are directly associated with the stroke and load that occur when energy is captured. What are we spending money on that doesn't directly lead to energy capture, and how can we design to reduce this?

We have known for a while that costs are associated with maximum strokes and loads, while revenues are associated with mean strokes and loads. Can we say more?

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

In Control of Cost of Energy

That's me off for a few days to Ireland. The Maynooth University Wave Energy Workshop is being held on 20 Jan. The workshop webpage includes a remote sign-in link for anyone who isn't able to attend in person. As Maynooth specialises in control, we can expect that to be the focus of many of the talks. I suspect my poster will be the least mathematical by far! Nevertheless, this is a perfect opportunity for me to evangelise my latest pet topic, that of broadening the function of control. Rather than limiting control to a means of improving power capture, we can consider it a powerful tool for reducing cost of energy.

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Garage Harmony

I recently spoke to the team who won the US Wave Energy Prize– Alex and Max, to find out more about the AquaHarmonics buoy. I wanted to figure out what they did that made their concept come out on top. After careful consideration, I think what won them the prize was a combination of a smart design philosophy that had control at its core, along with being the dream-team for any kind of scrapheap-challenge-type competition. Let’s have a quick look at their concept and the control method. I’ll highlight the technical features that I think were really important for them. Then I’ll relate a little story Alex told about how he and Max met, and how they came to be tinkering with wave energy in Alex’s garage.

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Doctor doctor! Shame on your dissemination and peer review!

A reader asks:

"You really believe 'any' of what's in the DOE's press releases about this ‘contest’? How naive are you? You have a PhD in this field!!

This 'contest' was just a PR stunt! It actually violated so many scientific protocols and standards that none of it would EVER pass a peer review. It didn't even make any common sense (at least not in the 21st century). This was a 1980's, or high-school contest, not something worthy of serious researchers! Also even a cursory examination of its goals and rules, would have made it fail the smell test! Far worse, however, was that this 'contest of skill' did not even abide by any of 50 state laws governing contests, games and lotteries, because the (privately contracted) organizers couldn't be bothered with the time (and expense) of consulting with attorneys specializing in this area of law (much less IP attorneys)!

So what are you talking about, Alexandra, giving this nonsensical 'contest' any credibility at all, given that it clearly does [sic] deserve it? You should know better than this. Shame on you.

Monday, 21 November 2016

Wave Energy Prize results

The US wave energy prize results are through. Four teams completed the challenge of at least doubling the ratio of energy capture to design loads for a baseline design. Here are my views on how they achieved this.

Thursday, 17 November 2016

Memory and fate

Bob Dylan's nobel prize for literature and his unenthusiatic acknowledgement of the award have put him back in the news. My favourite Dylan song at the moment has been covered by many; perhaps that's why I'd previously dismissed it as 'commercial'. This summer I heard it sung around a fire, so I revisited the words. It contains gems such as "the ancient empty street's too dead for dreaming" (just as the street doesn't inspire his poetry, our old ways can't inspire the new), and "I'm ready to go anywhere, I'm ready for to fade, Into my own parade" (he will accept whatever the future brings, whether he becomes famous or a nameless vagabond).

There's also a bit about waves:

Friday, 4 November 2016

Wave Energy Club

The first meeting of the newly formed Wave Energy Club will be held at the Golf Tavern in Edinburgh on the 30th November 2016, at 8 pm. The Golf Tavern does not have the good fortune of dimensional transcendence, so places are limited.

Here is where to register: