Central regions | Energy, utilities | Technology & innovation
Marineco’s sea-born electricity project unveiled
20 Aug '12
Innovative company Marineco, a new resident of the Skolkovo government-sponsored innovation hub outside Moscow, is developing a new technology of converting sea wave energy into electricity using FWPS—float wave power stations, the official Skolkovo Foundation website reports.
The project reportedly focuses on the development of an efficient and cost-effective wave-to-electricity energy converter with advanced performance characteristics.
An FWPS module is a long float-type capsule containing an oscillatory device with driving gear, an electric generator, and an auxiliary energy storage. Sea waves cause the capsule and the mechanical energy converter to constantly move back and forth, thus generating electrical current. Marineco claims its technique enables “most efficient withdrawal of energy from the waves.”
The developer is said to be able to make both one-module 50kW devices to power ocean-going ships, lighthouses, radio beacons, environment monitoring gear, weather balloons or navigation and telecom systems, and multimodule networked installations with a capacity of “tens of megawatts” powerful enough to energize costal and island settlements and industrial facilities located close to shore.
The FWPS modules have already been successfully test-run on lab test benches and in a hydrodynamic pool, the Foundation says. At the moment, an operational prototype is being made to test the system at sea.
In phase one, a prototype of a generator with an output capacity of 1kW will be designed and tested at sea; to enable this the company is seeking a grant from Skolkovo. According to Marineco CEO Alexander Temeyev, within two years the company wants to develop an industrial FWPS module prototype, followed 18 or so months after by the setting-up of commercial module production.
As it develops the prototypes Marineco is reportedly looking for investors to speed up the development of up to 50kW modules and multimodule systems, and bring the products to market as soon as possible.
According to the source, a range of entities have already shown interest in the advancing of the project. Those reportedly include the Russian Navy and the administrations of Sakhalin and the Kuril Islands. There’s also an array of project backers, including the Russian Ministry of Economic Development, the Russian Agency for Science and Innovation, the Parliamentary Commission for National Maritime Policy, UNESCO, the World Council for Renewable Energy, and a number of other organizations.
“The relevant market has huge potential, is not saturated and ready for explosive growth driven by increased demand for eco-friendly energy sources. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), the world wave-energy converter market is expected to grow within a few years to an estimated $1 trillion… We think our device is cost-effective; a float costs little and can last in tough operation conditions for decades,” Mr. Temeyev said.
Sea waves are capable of showing the largest power among other renewable energy sources; the cumulative wave capacity of the world oceans is believed by the IEA to be enough to double electricity production on Earth. Using the energy of waves the EU has plans by 2020 to add another 4.7GW to its overall electrical capacity, while the United States has drafted a strategy to produce by 2030 20GW of sea-generated electricity. By 2050, the world wants to get 200GW of power from the sea.