Friday, 8 December 2017

WES conference notes - 2017

Here’s a list of the most interesting information to come out of the WES conference last week.

Friday, 3 November 2017

It's difficult to avoid puns in wave energy

I attended a very interesting talk yesterday by Matthew Hannon. He admitted that it's difficult to avoid puns in wave energy, which you can see from the title of his latest work (Lost at Sea or a New Wave of Innovation?). Based on interviews and innovation indicators,e.g. number of patents, his main findings were:

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.

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.