Lead Research Organisation: Newcastle University
Department Name: Sch of Engineering


This project will use two niche applications to bridge the gap between academic excellence and industrial progress in the development of efficient pure electric power take off in wave energy converters. Compared to electrical machines in other industrial sectors, wave energy converters are slow which has led to a range of novel generators being developed, yet comparatively few have been demonstrated at full scale with developers instead preferring to use conventional generators connected via device specific mechanical linkages. Pure electric drive train concepts are known to be efficient and mechanically simple but must now be proved feasible and advantageous at a meaningful device scale. If the electrical generator is allowed to run flooded with sea water, there will be no requirement for sealing and therefore a much reduced requirement for maintenance. The concept must be demonstrated at sea whilst the performance is monitored. Investor confidence must be gained in the technology by accruing many hours of operational data. Long term operational issues of corrosion, biofouling, reliability and condition monitoring must be tackled.

Newcastle and Edinburgh Universities have been at the forefront of UK academic work in electric drives and wave energy converters for decades, and this collaborative team will now deliver two niche application prototypes to demonstrate all electric drive trains for wave energy converters. The project will design and demonstrate direct drive power take off for subsea communication networks and also powering subsea equipment for the oil and gas industry. A full scale electrical machine will be demonstrated using experience provided by an industrial partner. In addition, submerged electric generators will be demonstrated at sea for 12 months using Newcastle's USMART acoustic network gateway buoy. Corrosion protection and antifouling techniques specifically for the electrical generator will be demonstrated first in the laboratory before being used in the ocean.


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