In collaboration with ENI, today we announce the successful installation of the ISWEC prototype about 800 metres off the coast of the island of Pantelleria. It is the world’s first ISWEC (Inertial Sea Wave Energy Converter) device connected to the island’s electricity grid. This system will be able to reach 260kW of peak wave energy production. Once installed, our team will conduct the experimental campaign under real operating conditions. And this will lead to useful results for the development of second-generation devices already under study.
ISWEC Pantelleria Revamp Project Development
Developed in collaboration with Eni and the Politecnico di Torino, ISWEC is an innovative technology in the field of offshore renewable energy production. The ISWEC is capable of converting wave motion into electricity. It is a high-tech solution capable of supplying energy to offshore infrastructures, smaller off-grid islands and coastal communities. ISWEC’s design is able to adapt to the typical weather and sea conditions of the installation site, through a genetic algorithm that exploits the high computing power of Eni’s HPC5 (High Performance Computer) at the Green Data Centre (GDC) in Ferrera Erbognone.
In detail, the machine consists of a steel hull, measuring 8x15m. The energy conversion system consists of two gyroscopic units, each more than 2m in diameter. In addition a special self-aligning mooring system holds the device in position in a 35m seabed. In brief, the mooring system consists of three mooring lines and a swivel. Their integration allows the ISWEC to self-align to the incoming wave direction, also depending on weather and sea conditions. And finally, an underwater electric cable carries ashore the electrical energy produced.
The ISWEC installation in Pantelleria in collaboration with ENI marks a fundamental milestone. for the development of the technology and the decarbonization processo of the island.
Wave Energy Potential for Decarbonizing Remote Islands
Wave energy is one of the main forms of renewable energy that is currently undervalued. However water covers 70% of the earth’s surface (97% of which is sea and ocean). In particular, the potential developed by sea waves corresponds to a power of 2 terawatts globally, corresponding to about 18,000 terawatt-hours per year, almost equal to the planet’s annual electricity demand. In addition, the energy of sea waves is more predictable, continuous and of higher energy density than that of the sun and wind, being available both during the day and at night.
As a further advantage of the technology, the ISWEC has an extremely reduced impact on the landscape. In fact the device only emerges about 1 metre above the water level. Moreover, ISWEC can be seamlessly integrated with other renewable energy production solutions in the offshore environment. For instance, ISWEC devices can easily share the grid connection infrastructure with offshore wind systems. And furthermore, a correct integration can maximize the extraction of the available energy of a sea area.
ISWEC technology, which is part of Eni’s decarbonisation plan, was cited by the European Commission in its offshore renewable energy strategy as a key example of a wave energy converter. The installation of ISWEC in Pantelleria is the first step towards the decarbonisation of the island. And we hope it will contribute to move forward the Island’s energy transition agenda.
Read the press release on the ENI website: https://www.eni.com/it-IT/media/comunicati-stampa/2023/03/completata-pantelleria-installazione-iswec
Read the press release on the Politecnico di Torino website: https://www.polito.it/ateneo/comunicazione-e-ufficio-stampa/poliflash/a-pantelleria-l-energia-elettrica-arriva-dal-mare