In the last decade W4E brought the Wave Energy Converter ISWEC from concept to a full scale 100 kW device.
In order to obtain a reliable full scale device, such development from concept to sea operation was performed following the stages of the roadmap proposed in the Protocols of the EU FP7 Equimar Project.
The development started at small scale (1:45) in 2009 and were carried out at the wave tanks of Edinburgh (University of Edinburgh), Naples (Università Federico II) and Rome (INSEAN). Small scale tests demonstrated the power capabilities of the system and validated the monochromatic linear numerical models used to develop the next bigger prototype.
Medium scale 1:8 in 2012. Medium scale tests allowed to assess the converter behavior under regular and real sea irregular wave and to fine tune full Cummins modeling with nonlinear gyroscope.
Thanks to the knowledge acquired during the several prototypal stages, W4E was able to confidently design the full scale device approaching the design and realization phase with state of the art models and real knowledge of operations. Full scale demonstration prototype with rated power 100 kW fully operational at the Island of Pantelleria. Such demonstrator is fully certified by RINA (Registro Italiano Navale).
The current stage of development of the ISWEC technology is defined as TRL 7.
The ISWEC has the following main characteristics:
Sealed hull, with no movable parts exposed to marine environment. Being all the technological parts enclosed in a protected environment, this feature naturally increases the reliability of the device. This characteristic is almost UNIQUE in the WEC scenario.
ISWEC possesses two ways to adapt itself on the wave climate, the flywheel speed and the PTO control law The flywheel speed is controlled by a weather-wave forecasting algorithm to adapt to long-term ocean conditions change. The PTO is controlled on a short term loop to adapt to the next incoming wave (law developed by W4E, INDUSTRIAL SECRET)
The device externally appears as a sealed hull with no interactions with the environment. Floating positioning system, with no need for rigid linking devices or foundations on the sea bed to reduce environmental impact and the cost of the mooring. The ISWEC run smoothly and it doesn’t produce any noise or vibration that may interfere with the Sea flora and fauna.
All the components of the device works in a protected and clean environment, therefore intrinsically achieving higher reliability. The device is designed to increase MTBF and reduce MTTR, the minimum interval between ordinary maintenance is ten years.