Wave tank models sea conditions off Faroe Islands

Jan 09, 2004 01:00 AM

The full force of the North Atlantic is being felt in a swimming pool-sized tank in Inverness, where a major wave-power project is being tested. Engineers are using the wave tank to model sea conditions off the Faroe Islands, midway between Iceland and Norway, where the world's first large-scale, commercially viable wave power station is planned. Inverness-based Wavegen is involved in a joint venture with the Faroese electricity company SEV to develop wave power, and the two firms have now set up a new company, SeWave, to take the project forward.
George Lane, the new company's chairman, said: "The outcome of the work that's now under way will confirm the viability of bringing the two technologies together."

The research work will look at various aspects of the project, which involves housing Wavegen's wave energy conversion technology in cliffs using Faroese tunnelling expertise. Tests in the tank, which is 20 metres long by 6 metres wide by 1.5 metres deep, are designed to recreate sea conditions suited to wave-energy converters, which harness the power of the sea. The tank holds 120,000 cubic litres of water and has wave paddles at one end and an artificial beach at the other.
Mr Lane said: "This is one of the most exciting projects in the development of wave-energy technology. The World Energy Council estimates that twice as much energy can be harvested from wave power as is currently used to supply the entire world's electricity demand. But, unlike coal, oil and gas, wave energy is sustainable."

Wavegen already operates the first commercial-scale wave-energy device that exports power to the electricity grid. In July 2003 the Boards of Wavegen and SEV agreed to form a joint venture company to oversee the initial design and engineering phase of the project, with a value of £ 600,000.
The overall project, using a series of Wavegen's air turbine power generation modules, will be worth up to £ 7 mm and will form the blueprint for wave-power stations in similar locations in the Faroes and other parts of the world.

Source: NetContent
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