Wave farm manufacturing promise for Cornwall
Mon, 10 February 2014
A&P Falmouth has been awarded a landmark contract by wave energy firm Seatricity to build a wave energy device to be deployed at Wave Hub, the offshore renewable energy test facility.
The company, which has a growing reputation in the marine renewable energy sector, will manufacture, fabricate and assemble the wave energy converting device, Oceanus 2, which is made from marine grade aluminium. Work begins this week and will employ some 20 staff for a month.
The last few years have seen rapid growth for A&P in the industry, thanks to the company’s focus on meeting the needs of renewable energy firms.
The larger rated capacity Oceanus 2 will be built in the fabrications workshops, assembled on the quayside and deployed from a wharf at A&P’s shipyard in Falmouth. It will be deployed in spring 2014 and, if successful, it will pave the way for the manufacture of a further 60 devices.
Seatricity plans to develop a full scale 10MW grid connected array over the next two years at Wave Hub, some 10 miles off the coast of Hayle.
Paul Weston, A&P Falmouth’s renewable energy technical nanager said: “This is a tremendous boost, not only for A&P Falmouth but also for the local supply chain and demonstrates Cornwall’s growing reputation in the marine renewable energy industry.
“We are committed to helping the sector keep costs down and this project is a good example. We sat down with Seatricity at the concept stage and, using our knowledge of working with aluminium, identified substantial costs savings of 28%.”
In the simplest terms the device, a 10m in diameter floating ring with cross tubes, travels up and down with the waves and operates a pump to pressurise sea water to drive a hydroelectric turbine to produce electricity.
The float is tethered to blocks on the seabed and the pumps are linked together to generate substantial amounts of highly pressurised water. This pressurised sea water can also be used for directly producing fresh water by the reverse osmosis desalination process. Both fresh water and electricity can be produced simultaneously.
Peter Mitchell, managing director of Seatricity said: “Our first generation Oceanus 1 device has undergone extensive and successful sea trials in Scotland and we are ready to make the next step with the larger rated capacity Oceanus 2. The technology is scalable so once we complete our testing at Wave Hub this year we hope to move quickly to a full array. We’re delighted to be working so closely with the local supply chain and look forward to A&P completing our first device in the coming weeks.”
The appointment of A&P has been welcomed by the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership, whose chairman Chris Pomfret said: “Marine renewable energy is a global opportunity and our aim is to capture as much economic activity as possible for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. This announcement is a real vote of confidence in A&P and shows how our regional expertise can help smooth the path to commercialisation for the marine energy sector.”