Is this the future of wave power?

Jon Lawson

Bombora is preparing its final test and assembly phase of a 1.5MW demonstration project planned for launch off Pembrokeshire, Wales.

The generator features Bombora’s mWave system which features a series of air-inflated concave cells covered with rubber membranes which are mounted into a steel foundation structure secured under the surface of the sea. As waves pass overhead, air is squeezed out of each cell module in sequence, passing through one-way valves and into a duct system fitted with an axial turbine before being recirculated to refill each of the cell modules once the wave has passed. The unidirectional axial flow turbine is directly connected to a variable-speed generator to produce electricity.

The 900 tonne machine is 75 metres long, 15 metres wide and 6 metres high. mWave cell modules can be configured to suit either fixed-bed nearshore foundation systems or floating offshore ocean environments.

This is a really exciting phase as we gear up to deploy the world’s most powerful wave energy converter,” reckons Bombora’s COO, Dave Rigg. “The project has been progressing at pace, with our specialist mWave cell membranes currently undergoing final tests, with extreme inflation and deflation cycles. This is the culmination of the full-system testing process involving detailed instrumentation, operation of the valve systems and powering of the PTO (power take off) module. We have applied acute attention to detail, pushing our technology way beyond the expected operational limits to ensure high performance levels, robustness and durability. In the coming months we will complete the final assembly process on the quayside in Pembroke Dock before loadout to the operational site at East Pickard Bay, where the mWave technology will be validated in the open ocean, advancing it to TRL (technology readiness level) 7/8.”

Bombora managing director Sam Leighton added that the landmark project is pushing the boundaries of science and engineering, and will help accelerate the energy transition on route to a net zero future. “The Pembrokeshire demonstration project aims to provide a blueprint for future multi-megawatt wave energy projects. It will play a crucial role proving both the reliability and competitiveness of our novel mWave technology. Importantly, it will also deliver key optimisation data to inform Bombora’s other initiatives including the InSPIRE Project, which is under development with global EPC contractor, TechnipFMC. This project aims to unlock the enormous potential of hybrid floating wind and wave arrays, which could play a significant role in the future energy transition – delivering a more consistent and stable clean energy supply by combining complementary power profiles.”


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