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Project ENEMAR 2015

Marine Energy Conversion

Power System Research


Laura Serri

The aim of the project is to develop, test and disseminate methodologies, tools and information in order to foster the exploitation of the marine energy, in particular of the wave energy. In the present report, activities and results concerning the Annual Programme 2015 are reported. Activities concerning measurement campaign, wave energy resource assessment and ocean basin tests of WaveSAX hydraulic prototype (1:5) with Wells turbine are reported.

Ocean energy is becoming more and more popular worldwide, following the great development of renewable energy production. An European potential of 188 GW was estimated at 2050 for the ocean energy sector, corresponding with 15% of electricity demand at Community level; however, the technologies have not yet reached the commercial stage. It’s estimated that they could start to have a significant weight in the energy mix around 2030.

The project "Marine Energy" is aimed primarily to investigate the conversion of wave energy, a sector no consensus has not been yet reached on the most promising configuration; more than a hundred different devices in thirty countries are currently being developed. The progress and the commercial success of each device depend on the availability of proven, reliable and affordable technologies.

In Italy wave resources are generally lower than in the open seas and oceans, still there is a growing interest in the technological development of the sector, facing important challenges and opportunities, i.e. the realization of low-cost devices, the specialization of the devices for the characteristics of the resource in Mediterranean sites and the use of existing coastal infrastructures for the installation.

In this frame, RSE started to develop a wave energy conversion device, named WaveSAX, based on the "oscillating water column" principle with an innovative configuration in which the (Wells) turbine is positioned in the liquid phase.

Starting from a 1: 5 WaveSAX hydraulic prototype, two Wells turbines (with 3 and 4 blades) have been integrated. Tank tests at the Ecole Centrale de Nantes facility within the MARINET project have been performed. Measured data analysis allowed both to validate numerical models and assumptions applied in the design stage, and to give inputs for the design of the electrical generation and control system. This system was built and integrated in the prototype too.

In parallel, a WaveSAX cost assessment analysis has been started. The first step of this activity consisted in a literature review and in the choice of the model to be used (Levelized Cost of Energy). Finally, wave and current measurement campaign in the Port of Civitavecchia, started in 2013, has been continued and a refinement of wave resource assessment along the coast of Lazio has been carried out through the use of dedicated codes (SMS-STWAVE).

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Serri Laura