|Wave energy growth fuels need for special vessels|
|Wednesday, 01 February 2012 16:08|
Ocean energy is emerging as a viable source of environmentally friendly power that is expected to pick up pace this year. Carnegie Wave Energy of Western Australia will develop a commercial wave energy facility off Perth, and Australia’s BioPower Systems has funding for a pilot 250kW bioWAVE ocean wave energy system off Victoria.
In the US, Verdant Power has been licensed for a pilot tidal system in New York’s East River, and in the UK, OWEL and Marine Current Turbines have secured funding for their projects. Finnish company Wello is also installing a test system off Scotland this year. Their 1,600-tonne device will be moored in 65-metre waters and held in place by three wires anchored to the seabed.
There is a range of similar technologies being developed. Carnegie’s Perth installation, for example, will involve 7-metre-diameter buoys tethered 25 metres below the water surface. BioPower’s bioWAVE will be installed in high-energy. 30-metres-deep waters, and the bottom-mounted pitching device will span this full water depth. Work boat designers are yet to develop specialist vessels for the industry and Wello and others have designed their operations so that they don’t use any large or specialised vessels to keep costs low. Most of Wello’s operations will be carried out using a multi-cat.
“The development of marine energies will surely increase the need for vessels,” says Wello chief innovation officer, Heikki Paakkinen, who envisages that specialist vessels with cranes and jack-up legs will eventually be required.
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