The European Marine Energy Centre in Orkney has teamed up with the Glasgow-based Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult and Sweden’s Technical Research Institute to improve reliability in marine energy converters.
Funded through the OCEANERA-NET initiative, the project will establish industry best practice in reliability testing for wave and tidal energy devices through improved load measurements and verification, while increasing safety in marine energy operations.
The overall technical approach will be driven by SP Research Institute, bringing their experience of reliability from the automotive industry.
Pierre Ingmarsson at the SP Technical Research Institute of Sweden, said: “We want to develop a culture of reliability testing within the ocean energy sector.
“Therefore we will develop a programme for transferring skills in reliability analysis to marine energy developers through the testing houses. This will ensure that the practical methodologies developed in this project are taken up by industry and make a lasting impact”
Karen Fraser, Coordinator of OCEAN ERA-NET, explained; “This project addresses addresses two of the main challenges identified by OCEANERA-NET – reliability and survivability of ocean energy technologies.
“This will ultimately reduce HSE risks, technological risks, and operations and maintenance risks, with the aim to lowering the levelised cost of energy for the sector, and speeding up progression to commercialisation.”
The industry-approved reliability testing practices subsequently developed will be applied through the leading ocean energy testing houses to ensure consistency and robustness by which reliability is demonstrated across all wave and tidal technologies.
Elaine Buck, EMEC Technical Business Development Manager, added: “Every technology that has been deployed in the extreme wave and tidal conditions at our test sites has encountered challenges with reliability and survivability.
“Developers are faced with a very difficult investment climate and are often pressured to push device development from TRL 4/5 straight to TRL 7/8 without the time to learn from experience gained during the testing and modelling for reliability of the structure or subcomponents. Encountering such challenges at sea can become very costly so there’s a critical need for robust reliability testing prior to offshore deployments.
“For a test site to provide a comprehensive testing service, we need to understand the potential failures as early as possible to reduce the risk, cost and time for the developer.
“At EMEC we’re always looking to expand our testing capabilities, and the development of this reliability test programme will be of great benefit to the marine energy developers who utilise our test sites.”
EMEC – the world’s leading facility for testing wave and tidal energy converters in real sea conditions – is also exhiibiting at an marine energy conference in Edinburgh this week, where the opening address will be given by Fergus Ewing, Scottish Energy Minister.