The R and H technologies 1.03.2010
Wave Energy Technology
GENERAL STRUCTURE OF THE R-TYPE MACHINES The 40South Energy R-type wave energy conversion system comprises two parts. The first part – called the “Lower Member” – is submerged at a depth of between 15 and 25 metres (depending on model type and the site of deployment). Above it, one or more “Upper Members” are submerged at a depth between 1 and 12 meters (depending on the sea and operating conditions). The relative motion between the Upper and Lower Members converts directly into electricity within the machine, through a number of TEP (Transmission Electronics and Power) modules. The TEPs of the R115 machines use the WT50 powertrains (used also in the H24-50kW Wave and Tidal machines) while the R4M machines will use the forthcoming WT500 powertrains, shared with the H24-500kW Wave and Tidal machines.
TECHNOLOGICAL TRACK RECORD A full scale 100kW prototype – the D100t – has been in the water from August 11, 2010 to November 2010. We carried out extensive tests and made continual adjustments and modifications to it, until we retired it in preparation for the next one. The full scale Y25t was installed in May 2011, and operated until the end of July of 2011 when we retired it for upgrades and modifications. The Y25t in particular allowed us to validate completely the sophisticated computer models that we use to predict the efficiency of our machines in a given site. Installation of the first commercial machine, an R115 unit, was completed with first electricity production offshore on Decrmber 17th 2013 (see here for photos of the launch).
COMMERCIAL MACHINES The offshore commercial machines will be based on a lower member geometry which we call “Rail type”, from which the “R” in front of the names. The R115-400kW models will be available starting from 2019.
Availability Of Wave Energy Conversion
DESIGN AND VALIDATION Our machines are always exposed to their nominal loads – and therefore are engineered to nominal loads, not to exceptional loads. We don’t need to expose our converters to a sizeable number of storms in order to validate their durability and resilience because, in contrast to most other wave energy systems, which work on or near the sea’s surface, 40South Energy wave conversion technology works beneath the surface.
NOT SITE-SPECIFIC The capacity to vary the depth of the wave energy converters dynamically and automatically in response to any changes in sea conditions guarantees that the same machine will operate within the same operational limits wherever it is installed – be it off the coasts of Orkney, Tuscany, or Oregon. This makes preliminary testing at the specific installation site unnecessary: we can ship the same equipment to any site on the planet, confident that it will always operate within its specified operational limits.
Installation, Removal and O&M
Installation is straightforward: the wave energy conversion equipments is towed to its mooring and then attached. The system’s own control system brings it automatically to its optimum operational depth.
When it comes time for removal, the process is reversed. Neither operation requires the presence of scuba divers.
There operations can be carried out by our partner EPCs, like Elements Works SRL
PROCEDURAL TRACK RECORD The installation of our first full scale prototype – the D100t rated at 100kW – in 2010 took half a day of offshore activity (plus towing time). This was accomplished in sea condition where waves were reaching 0.5m in height at times. The installation of the second generation of full scale prototypes – the Y25t rated at 25kW – in 2011 took about three hours. Installation and commissioning of the first R115 was completed in March 2014. With Elements Works we installed the first H24 in the site in front of Marina di Pisa in just a few hours.
OPERATIONS AND MAINTENANCE Any parts of the wave energy technology that requires maintenance – such as generators, transmission, power electronics, or control systems etc – are hosted on a small detachable platform. This means that on-site activities can be restricted to removing this platform, replacing any part with a spare, and shipping the replaced part to 40South Energy for maintenance and refurbishment. All these on-site operations are delegated to a pre-qualified partner EPC.