World's biggest Wave Hub installed off UK coast

Sep 08, 2010 by Lin Edwards report
Wavehub unit side. Credit: North News & Pictures Ltd

(PhysOrg.com) -- A wave energy generation test site called the "Wave Hub" is being set up off Cornwall’s northern coast. The site is the first offshore wave energy site in the UK, and will allow four wave energy generator systems, with a total capacity of 20 MW, to be evaluated simultaneously.

The $64 million project consists of a sub-station at Hayle in Cornwall, from which a cable has now been laid under the sand dunes and across the to the wave generation area 16 km offshore, where the energy generators will be moored. The area covers eight square kilometers, and is marked by navigational markers.

The subsea cable, socket, and four 300 meter “tails” of the Wave Hub have been lowered into position on the sea bed 55 meters below the surface, and work has begun on laying 80,000 tonnes of rock on top of the cable to keep it in place. Each of the four tail cable "berths" can be connected to up to a different wave energy conversion device.

The first wave generator developer to be signed up for the scheme is US company Ocean Power Technologies Limited (OPT), which will connect its PowerBuoy wave energy converter to one of the tail berths early next year.

Power Buoy Farm

Other companies expected to become involved are WestWave, Fred Olsen Limited and Oceanlinx. Each developer will lease a two square kilometer area of sea bed for a period of about five years, and will be able to generate a maximum of 4-5 MW of power, which will be sold and transmitted to the electricity distribution grid as the Wave Hub evaluates the efficiency of each device.

Executive director Stephen Peacock of the South West RDA said the project had been over seven years in the making, and will “catapult south-west England and the UK to the forefront of development.” The project is also expected to create hundreds of “quality” jobs in the region.

Guy Lavender, the Wave Hub general manager at RDA said the fact the project was designed and built in the UK was testimony to the skills already present in the UK in the field of marine renewable energy.

The UK’s south west is an ideal location for the Wave Hub, according to Lord Hunt, minister for energy and climate change, because it is the first low-carbon economic area in the UK and there is a great deal of expertise in the region in marine technologies. Science minister David Willetts said the UK is already an industry leader, with 25 percent of global wave and tidal technologies being developed there, and the Wave Hub scheme could create thousands of jobs over the next few decades.

The Wave Hub was funded by the UK government, the South West Regional Development Agency (RDA) and the Convergence Programme, run by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

Power Buoy full length out of water


Explore further: Going nuts? Turkey looks to pistachios to heat new eco-city

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

New work on leading wave power

Dec 09, 2008

A technology that is adapted to the special conditions for wave energy places the wave energy technology from Uppsala on the absolute cutting edge in the world. In his dissertation, Rafael Waters presents the findings from ...

Powering Australia with waves

Aug 17, 2010

Wave energy is surging ahead as a viable source of renewable energy to generate electricity -- with Australia's southern margin identified by the World Energy Council as one of the world's most promising sites for wave-energy ...

Galician waves are best for producing energy

Nov 30, 2009

The best coastal areas in the Iberian Peninsula in terms of harnessing wave energy are the Costa da Morte and Estaca de Bares, in La Coruña, Galicia, according to two pioneering studies by researchers from ...

Portuguese wave-power snake dead in the water

Mar 24, 2009

Opened in September as a world "first" in producing electricity from waves, a pioneering installation here is dead in the water having functioned for only a few weeks in a stormy process of research and development.

Recommended for you

Obama launches measures to support solar energy in US

Apr 17, 2014

The White House Thursday announced a series of measures aimed at increasing solar energy production in the United States, particularly by encouraging the installation of solar panels in public spaces.

Tailored approach key to cookstove uptake

Apr 17, 2014

Worldwide, programs aiming to give safe, efficient cooking stoves to people in developing countries haven't had complete success—and local research has looked into why.

User comments : 0

More news stories

Ex-Apple chief plans mobile phone for India

Former Apple chief executive John Sculley, whose marketing skills helped bring the personal computer to desktops worldwide, says he plans to launch a mobile phone in India to exploit its still largely untapped ...

A homemade solar lamp for developing countries

(Phys.org) —The solar lamp developed by the start-up LEDsafari is a more effective, safer, and less expensive form of illumination than the traditional oil lamp currently used by more than one billion people ...

NASA's space station Robonaut finally getting legs

Robonaut, the first out-of-this-world humanoid, is finally getting its space legs. For three years, Robonaut has had to manage from the waist up. This new pair of legs means the experimental robot—now stuck ...