The goal of the project is to define the global requirements and specific challenges of the next generation of reliable and cost-effective monitoring, control and connection components for OEAs.
The project will develop four critical components for OEAs:
- A safety monitoring & control device (from TRL4 to TRL7): Design an onboard device specifically designed for the ocean energy sector which will integrate all the required safety features regarding supervision and control of operational hazards in floating ocean energy converters. The device will be installed in a full scale wave energy converter (OCEANTEC) for its testing and validation.
- A wave measurement buoy (from TRL 4 to TRL7): Develop an affordable oceanographic measurement technology based on GPS sensors that will allow the deployment and operation of a network of buoys. This network will allow accurately assessing the resource in the whole area and provide all the data needed for the OEAs to improve efficiency, survivability and reliability.
- An umbilical cable monitoring device (from TRL3 to TRL6): Develop and improve a device and observation techniques that will allow the real time monitoring of umbilical cable position, shape and strain in order to obtain improved design assumptions and reduce risk. The device, Symbiotracker, developed by WavEC harvests power from magnetic fields that surround an umbilical cable and continuously charges a battery that powers other devices for monitoring, such as acoustic pingers, strain gauges and ocean environmental sensors.
- An underwater device-to-cable connector (from TRL3 to TRL6): Design a connector for a floating ocean energy converter that is easy to connect and disconnect (no need of big vessels, cranes nor ROVs), requires minimum offshore working time, has low weather window requirements for the connecting/disconnecting operations, needs low maintenance and with important cost savings compared to current solutions.
We will then demonstrate and validate these components and systems in two open-sea test sites. The safety monitoring & control device, wave measurement buoy and underwater device to cable connector will be tested in real ocean conditions at BIMEP (Basque Country) open-sea test facility. Umbilical cables and monitoring devices and techniques will be tested at the SMARTBAY (Ireland) test site. We will then disseminate the project results to the European ocean energy sector, and in particular to the project developer pipeline, in order to maximise the future exploitation prospects.