Research& Development

Gear technology helps lower cost of wave energy farming

A Swedish company has cracked the challenge of scaling up wave energy, with the help of technology from researchers at KTH Royal Institute of Technology. CorPower Ocean’s new wave energy system, which uses a gearbox design developed at KTH, generates five times more energy per ton of device, at one third of the cost when compared to competing state-of-the art technologies. Energy output is three to four times higher than traditional wave power systems. Wave energy has been held back in part because of the cost of electricity generation. The amount of steel and concrete needed in order to produce each MWh has simply been too great to make it into a profitable business. Even still, the power of waves presents a problem with reliability; and because waves vary greatly in height and timing, it’s difficult to create a conversion system that functions across the full wave spectrum.2

Known in the wave energy industry as a point absorber type system, the CorPower converter consists of a buoy that absorbs energy from the waves, plus a drivetrain that converts the buoy’s motion into electricity. The company’s system is based on Swedish cardiologist Stig Lundbäck’ patents, some of which are inspired by his research into heart pumping and control functions.

CEO Patrik Möller says the CorPower wave energy converter can manage the entire spectrum of waves, unlike competing systems.

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