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INEGI engineering will maximize energy production of hybrid wave energy converters

15 April 2020

INEGI is one of the partners of the Wec4Ports project
, which aims to develop a industrializable and marketable hybrid wave energy conversion system (WEC) for integration into port breakwaters.

Maximize energy production, develop equipment that is more resistant to adverse maritime conditions, and minimize investment and operating costs. These are the key objectives of the project which, besides INEGI, also includes the Faculty of Engineering of the University of Porto (FEUP), and the companies ÉireComposites and IMDC (from Ireland and Belgium, respectively).

The development of this concept first started 2017 with the project SE@PORTS - Sustainable Energy at Sea Ports, which was born from an idea that originated at INEGI.

WAVE ENERGY IS A VIABLE SOLUTION FOR THE ENERGY NEEDS OF PORT INFRASTRUCTURES

Port infrastructures have seen a progressive growth in their activity and, consequently, an increase in energy consumption and pollution. That is why the installation of renewable energy harnessing systems, namely with the capacity to generate electricity from wave energy, presents itself as a solution to minimize the problem and contribute to the sustainability of the ports.

The solution is realistic, but it is not yet a reality. To get there, the consortium intends to develop the concept created within the scope of the SE@PORTS project in order to achieve a high technological level that allows the demonstration of the technology in a real environment.

The innovative concept at the center of the project "combines two systems of harnessing wave energy, the oscillating water column and overtopping. It also integrates air and water turbines for energy conversion, and applies hybridization as a means of generating energy and energy storage. Important innovations to obtain more efficiency in a wide range of oceanic conditions", explains Tiago Morais, responsible for both projects at INEGI.

INEGI, which has experience and skills in the areas of technologies for the sea, in particular in the development of wave energy conversion systems, and is now in charge of the "numerical analysis of energy production and the optimization of the turbine’s advanced control strategies to maximize energy production”, says Tiago Morais.

At an advanced stage of the project, the technology will be tested at the port of Mutriku, in Spain. Here, tests will be carried out to assess the viability of the technology. "The objective is to evaluate and improve the procedures for installation, operation and maintenance of the technologies used in the process of converting wave energy – such as the self-rectifying air turbines - in order to obtain realistic estimates of their performance," says Tiago Morais.

The project started in March and is expected to last until 2023, with a budget of around 666 thousand euros.

The Wec4Ports project is funded by the ERA-NET Cofund in Ocean Energy (OCEANERA-NET COFUND), under the Horizon 2020 Program, which aims to support research and development in ocean energy, to encourage collaborative projects that address some of the main challenges identified for the sector, as it moves towards commercialization.
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