SEWEC starts WEC assembly process

1:50 scale SEWEC device (Photo: Wave Energy Prize)

SEWEC, one of the finalist teams of Wave Energy Prize challenge, has started the assembly process of its 1:20 scale wave energy device.

SEWEC team is developing an oscillating water column (OWC) type of wave energy converter.

An oscillating water column is a partially submerged, hollow structure. It is open to the sea below the water line, enclosing a column of air on top of a column of water.

Waves cause the water column to rise and fall, trapping the air, which flows to and from the atmosphere via a turbine. The rotation of the turbine is used to generate electricity.

The SEWEC wave energy converter is a free-floating and specially adapted to withstand the more challenging offshore, deep water environment where available energy levels are higher and more widespread than those available nearshore, according to the SEWEC team.

The SEWEC device extends the proven OWC concept, enabling devices to be moored offshore in a much wider range of locations than conventional shore-based devices.

Unlike shore-based OWC’s, only minimal site work is required to set up a SEWEC wave energy farm by simply towing out devices to their moorings, SEWEC team states.

The team has finished the construction of the 1:20 scale model, and started the assembly process of the device.

In parallel to the assembly, the team is configuring the device to maximize energy capture from particular sea states.

The testing of the finalist teams’ 1:20 scale devices for the Wave Energy Prize challenge will be conducted at MASK basin in Carderock starting from August.

The team that ranks the highest after testing the 1:20 scaled WEC device model will be awarded $1.5 million.

The second team will win an award in the amount of $500,000, and the third-placed team will be awarded $250,000. The winners are expected to be announced in November.

Take a look at the video showing the SEWEC wave energy device being tested at 1:50 scale at the University of Michigan’s Wave Test Tank in December 2015.

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