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World-first trial aims to harness the potential of wave energy farms

A number of wave energy devices were grouped together in an array for a series of experiments under various wave conditions in the model test basin facility.

ARENA (Australian Renewable Energy Agency) supports and funds this project in collaboration with AMC and Swinburne University of Technology.

Professor Richard Manasseh explains that the information gleaned from these experiments would be used to develop a free online modelling tool to assess the ocean wave energy resource in a particular area.

«This research will give industry and investors an impartial assessment of the performance of wave energy farms and provide greater confidence when negotiating large developments. It may also uncover the best arrangements for the devices to provide optimum performance ». Besides industry partners like Biopower Systems Pty Ltd and Carnegie Wave Energy expect very interesting results from this trial.

According to ARENA CEO Ivor Frischknecht: « Wave arrays enable economies of scale, so determining how devices interact in the ocean will be crucial to the commercialisation of wave power. Testing at AMC could one day lead to wave energy arrays being deployed off Australian coastlines or islands, feeding affordable renewable energy to onshore users».

It's a milestone for the research on wave energy devices. For the very first time, the work of limited modelling has been validated with physical experiments.