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WaveRoller® the leading wave energy technology has reached another important milestone with the validation by DNV GL of load calculation and structural analysis methods. Simulated results were compared to measurements made during sea trials of the WaveRoller® Pilot Power Plant in 2014. AW-Energy has constantly invested in obtaining a sophisticated set of development tools, which in turn facilitates the ongoing design process.

The leading advisor to the renewables industry, DNV GL, used its wave energy converter modelling tool, WaveDyn, to simulate the loads on WaveRoller®’s structure. The response of the structure to these loads was then predicted and compared with that measured during sea trials late last year. Suitable agreement with measurements has now been confirmed, thus validating the numerical methodology for design purposes.

When it comes to technological development, this landmark achievement will help to place the WaveRoller® on a par with the few most advanced tidal technology suppliers currently working on the delivery of several hundred megawatt arrays.

Determining accurate load data is an extremely important part of the design process for commercial multi-year deployments. It is crucial that the wave energy converter can stand up to both the most extreme waves it is likely to encounter as well as the constant presence of more moderate waves. It is a challenging task to accurately estimate the structural response in all the cases representing the real environment. As well as a wide variety of performance-related conditions, especially severe conditions were experienced in the latest sea trials, with wave heights of more than 8 meters recorded.

The numerical models, created and now validated by DNV GL, are currently being used for the load and structural assessment of the commercial scale WaveRoller® design. With the first customer projects in the pipeline, the commercial roll-out of the 350kW device is on track for 2016.

DNV GL has previously independently verified the performance figures produced by the WaveRoller® in Portugal and validated a numerical model of the device under performance conditions. The grid-connected power plant has had several successful operational campains since 2012. AW-Energy has also recently commissioned a 1,5MW Power Take Off (PTO) Testing Centre in Finland which enables real scale testing of commercial PTO units.

The R&D Manager Dr. Tuula Mäki of AW-Energy said: “These results are especially valuable since they will help in optimizing the design of the technology. Keeping safety factors at a reasonable level by reducing uncertainty in the modelling process will also cut investment costs, further stimulating the technology’s progress towards large scale roll-out.”