Monday 24 June 2013

Peter Fraenkel on fundamental technology challenges - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - a discussion

The fundamental challenge of large torque

At the quickfire seminar series at All Energy 2013, tidal energy veteran Peter Fraenkel (Fraenkel-Wright) gave his views on fundamental engineering challenges facing both tidal stream and wave energy: the lower the speed of the prime mover, the higher the torque, and the bigger the machinery. He estimated that tidal turbines were an order of magnitude slower, and WECs (wave energy converters) two orders of magnitude slower, than fossil fuel turbines.

Peter Fraenkel’s summation of the fundamental engineering constraints carried the implicit suggestion that wave energy would always be more expensive than tidal energy. Perhaps some insight might be gained from examining the reasons why tidal energy has progressed faster than wave energy. Of course I naturally feel compelled to defend wave energy as a matter of principle, so while I acknowledge that tribalism is a motivating factor for me, I shall do my best to prevent this from affecting my objectivity.

Monday 17 June 2013

AEO - fundamental challenges

Technology comparison

At the quickfire seminar series at All Energy, tidal energy veteran Peter Fraenkel (Fraenkel-Wright) gave a talk comparing ocean energy technologies. He gave his views on which technologies were the most likely to become commercially competitive. He did not think that OTEC, tidal barrage, or shoreline wave were close to becoming competitive in the near future. Perhaps unsurprisingly, he thought that tidal stream stood a good chance of being competitive with offshore wind. He thought that offshore wave had a chance of becoming competitive, but that it faced greater challenges than tidal stream.

Tuesday 11 June 2013

AEO trends and titbits - cost of energy

Here’s what wave and tidal developers had to say about improving the cost of energy (CoE), at the recent All Energy Opportunities conference. There were some interesting pointers to where the technology is heading.

Monday 3 June 2013

AEO Trends and Titbits - commercialisation

It was simply not possible to see everything I wanted to at All Energy Opportunities 2013. Quite apart from half the exhibition hall being prematurely closed due to an excessively mobile tent, some of the talks were on concurrently. This year there was a new quickfire seminar series where wave and tidal developers could report on their progress. I spent as much time at these talks as the official conference (sessions Wave and Tidal 6&7, and Offshore Wind 3). There were some interesting comments about the commercialisation process. Here are the highlights: