IMPACT (Innovative Methods for Wave Energy Pathways Acceleration through Novel Criteria and Test Rigs) aims to accelerate testing device development and reduce the technology cost as part of a global advancement in wave energy converter technologies. The three-year €3.3m (NOK 33.5m) project is funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme.
A new testing platform to harness ocean power in Europe
If the challenging climate goals of the Paris Agreement are to be met, substantial investment in renewable energy technology is required now in order to make a difference. Wave energy has the theoretical potential to meet the world's entire energy demand. The long-term vision of the International Renewable Energy Agency is to have a worldwide installed capacity of 337 GW by 2050, but the installed capacity in 2019 was just 531 MW.
European Energy Forum estimates conclude that wave energy could provide 10% of Europe's power generation by 2050. However, radically different and slow development of present technologies limit that potential. The Joint Research Center (JRC) of the European Commission (EC) identified cost reduction and reliability as the main challenges for the wave energy sector to achieve competitive electricity costs.
The proposed 250kW Dual Hardware-In-the-Loop (DHIL) testing platform is based on a technology which expands the capabilities of the already established Hardware-In-the-Loop technique. The test facilities will be hosted by project coordinator VGA, located in central Italy.
SINTEF's involvement in IMPACT
SINTEF Energy Research will analyse grid codes, implement the power take-off grid model and define the rig's electrical specifications. Also, they will collaborate on the rig's electrical and software design and provide supports on the final test phase.
SINTEF Ocean will review the selection of relevant environmental test conditions, and the novel testing methodologies. They will define novel metrics and check the overall testing phase execution, from the engagement with WEC developers to the results analysis and final reporting.
"SINTEF Energy Research and SINTEF Ocean are both heavily invested in renewable energy research. Our skills, experience and testing infrastructure complement each other and bring a lot of value to this important European wave energy research project," says IMPACT Steering Committee member Hans Christian Bolstad of SINTEF Energy Research.
Industry involvement and demonstration
While five parties are involved in the project itself, other companies have joined the Technical Advisory Board (TAB) to help direct and guide the research. TAB members consist of possible end-users of the DHIL novel testing platform and/or the new methodologies to make it highly relevant to a wide cross-section of industry.
Project research and results will be disseminated in two technical workshops. A methodologies and metrics focused workshop will be held at a future edition of the European Wave and Tidal Energy Conference, while the technology itself will be demonstrated at the VGA test facilities in Italy.
In order to facilitate their implementation in future testing practices for the development of wave energy technologies, a publicly available report on the novel DHIL approach, methodologies and metrics will be released on the project website www.impact-h2020.eu.
IMPACT brings together cross-functional ocean energy and industrial engineering competence and testing facilities from five partners across Europe. In addition to SINTEF Energy Research and SINTEF Ocean:
- VGA is an Italian engineering company specialised in the design and development of complex systems and high technology prototypes such as test rigs, electromechanical actuators, storage solutions and control systems.
- Yavin Four Consultants brings together specialists in emerging offshore renewables to provide technical, commercial and strategic advice.
- The University College Cork MaREI is a research centre with particular knowledge and expertise in the fields of laboratory testing as well as technoeconomic and environmental evaluation of ocean energy convertors.
You can find out more information about IMPACT and stay updated by signing up for the project newsletter at the project website.