Monday 25 March 2013

Why do investors want high nameplate power ratings?

There is a lot of focus on the nameplate power ratings of wave and tidal projects. A good example of this is Aquamarine’s choice of name for their second prototype. The ‘Oyster 800’ is not the most obvious sequel to the ‘Oyster 1’. The name does however draw attention to the 800kW power rating, which happens to be higher than the 750kW of competitor Pelamis. One could almost imagine that there was a race of some sort!

Tuesday 19 March 2013

Outstanding waves from Escher

M.C. Escher’s Phosphorescent Sea (1933) is possibly the most beautiful picture of waves I have seen. It is possible that I like it so much because I am familiar with Escher’s work, so I expect optical illusions, allusions to the impossible, interplay between background and foreground, and playfulness from a mathematical perspective. The Phosphorescent Sea has none of this obvious trickery. I admit that it is possibly my own imagination that applies what I expect from Escher to this picture, but let me share it with you anyhow.

Monday 11 March 2013

Free tanks tests and sea trials

Marinet is an excellent resource for marine renewables developers. This EU funded project provides free access to 45 experimental facilities across Europe, as well as expert advice from the staff based at these facilities. The experimental facilities can model waves, tidal currents, wind, and even combinations of these. Additionally, there are facilities to model power take off, including two operational shoreline wave energy converters for full scale turbine testing. There are two offshore sites for sea trials of wave energy converters. There are options for testing moorings, corrosion, and materials.

In order to be eligible for funding, the lead and most of the team members must be from the EU (or a country associated with the Framework 7 program), the team must test in a different country from their own, and the team must be willing to publish results in some form (arrangements can be made to protect IP and commercial sensitivities).

If you know of anyone who might benefit from this resource, please tell them about the MARINET website. The deadline for the 3rd call is the 27th March.

MARINET also offer free training courses that are available to both industry and academia.

Monday 4 March 2013

RenewableUK 2013 Wave round-up

Worst joke: In the present financial climate we are in the unfortunate situation of only being able to back one horse. Let's hope it doesn't become horse meat.

Closest to fisticuffs: Martin McAdam (Aquamarine) and Guy Newey (Policy Exchange). The chair Juliet Morris swiftly changed topic when Guy and Martin entered into a lively discussion about whether the global wave energy resource was large enough to justify investment in the sector. 

Doom and Gloom: Apprehension about the electricity market reform dampened the party spirit for both wave and tidal energy: the lack of a stable regulatory framework does not provide the desirable long term strategy message. Likewise, longer-term planning is hindered by uncertainty surrounding austerity and Scottish independence.

There was however a cautious optimism for tidal energy that was notably absent from the wave energy discussions. Perhaps there was a sense that, with limited budgets, the recent industry investment in tidal had dried up the funds available for wave energy? The fear of 'winner takes all' was again expressed in discussions of the outcome of recent EU funding rounds: the two NER300 marine projects in the UK were both tidal.