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Project ENEMAR 2017

Electrical Energy from the sea

Power System Research


Maximo Aurelio Peviani

The project is aimed at developing, experimenting and disseminating tools, methodologies and information to support the development of energy production from marine sources and particularly from wave motion. The Report describes the activities and results achieved during the 2017 Annual Plan.

Ocean energy is becoming more and more interesting worldwide, as a result of renewable energies diffusion. For the ocean energy sector, a global potential of 300 GW at 2050 has been estimated. However, the technologies have not yet reached the commercial stage. It’s estimated that they will start to have a significant weight in the energy mix around 2030.

The "Marine Energy" project is primarily aimed to investigate the conversion of wave energy, a sector in which there is still no consensus on the most promising configuration and more thn a hundred different devices in thirty countries are under development. The progress and the commercial success of each device depend to the fact that its technology is proven, reliable and affordable.

Despite in Italy the wave resource is generally lower than in the open seas and oceans, there is a growing interest in the technological development of the sector, facing important challenges and opportunities, such as the realization of low-cost devices, the specialization of the devices to the characteristics of the resource in the Mediterranean sites and the use of coastal infrastructure for the installation.

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

During the previous year of the research, the WaveSAX's 1: 5 scale prototype - equipped with a Wells turbine and the generation and control system - was tested in a naval tank at the INSEAN CNR in Rome. During the reporting period, the scale 1:5 WaveSAX prototype was tested in dry test bench, in order to evaluate the mechanical and electromechanical losses addressed to analyse the scale effect on the PTO. (Power Take Off). A numerical analysis was carried out to evaluate the effect of the geometry of the water intake on the energy generated by the device with a 5-blade Wells turbine. Preliminary projects were elaborated, both of the fixed and mobile part and of the generation and control system, of a first prototype of the WaveSAX device (1: 1). The LCA (Life Cycle Assessment) analysis was conducted to support the choice of materials for the construction of the first prototype. The wave and current measurement campaign continued in the Port of Civitavecchia. Lastly, the second step was taken in the development of a wave forecasting system that allows to estimate the potential wave energy available at a site in the following 72 hours, started in the previous period of research.

This report summarizes the results obtained from the aforementioned activities.

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Peviani Maximo Aurelio