Bombora Wave Power said this week it was entering the final test and assembly phase of the 1.5MW Pembrokeshire Demonstration Project, as it prepares to validate what it says is the world’s most powerful Wave Energy Converter.
"Rigorous testing of the key sub-systems is currently underway as the ocean energy specialist prepares to deliver the £20million project, financially supported by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) via the Welsh Government," Bombora said.
The cell modules, a key element of the firm’s ‘membrane-based’ WEC system, mWave, are now being operated through their final round of design limit testing before being fitted into the steel foundation structure in Pembroke Dock.
Bombora’s COO, Dave Rigg said the team would soon be ready to fully energize the 1.5MW mWave in the ocean waves off the Pembrokeshire coastline.
“This is a really exciting phase as we gear up to deploy the world’s most powerful Wave Energy Converter,” he said.
“The project has been progressing at pace, with our specialist mWave cell membranes currently undergoing final tests, with extreme inflation and deflation cycles. This is the culmination of the full-system testing process involving detailed instrumentation, operation of the valve systems and powering of the PTO (Power Take Off) module.
We have applied acute attention to detail, pushing our technology way beyond the expected operational limits to ensure high-performance levels, robustness and durability. In the coming months we will complete the final assembly process on the quayside in Pembroke Dock before loadout to the operational site at East Pickard Bay, where the mWave technology will be validated in the open ocean, advancing it to TRL (Technology Readiness Level) 7/8.”
Bombora’s mWave solution involves a series of air-inflated concave cells covered with rubber membranes and mounted into a steel foundation structure secured beneath the ocean’s surface.
As waves pass overhead, air is squeezed out of each cell module in sequence, passing through one-way valves and into a duct system fitted with an axial turbine before being recirculated to refill each of the cell modules once the wave has passed. The unidirectional axial flow turbine is directly connected to a variable-speed generator to produce electricity.
The 900 tonne 1.5MW mWave is 75 meters long, 15 meters wide, and 6 meters high. mWave cell modules can be configured to suit either fixed-bed nearshore foundation systems or floating offshore ocean environments, Bombora said.
Bombora Managing Director Sam Leighton said: "The Pembrokeshire Demonstration Project aims to provide a blueprint for future multi-megawatt wave energy projects,” he said. “It will play a crucial role proving both the reliability and competitiveness of our novel mWave technology. Importantly, it will also deliver key optimization data to inform Bombora’s other world-leading initiatives, including the InSPIRE Project, which is under development with global EPC contractor, TechnipFMC. This project aims to unlock the enormous potential of hybrid floating wind and wave arrays, which could play a significant role in the future energy transition - delivering a more consistent and stable clean energy supply by combining complementary power profiles.”
InSPIRE, which stands for Integrated Semi-Submersible Platform with Innovative Renewable Energy, is a project being developed by Bombora and TechnipFMC, which aims to pair a floating offshore wind project with ocean wave energy.