University of Exeter tests novel mooring ropes

Elastometric mooring ropes under tests at UoE (Photo: University of Exeter)

University of Exeter is performing scale testing of the elastometric mooring ropes as part of the EU-funded OPERA wave energy project.

The scale testing is being conducted at University of Exeter’s Dynamic Marine Component test facility, the renewable energy unit at the University informed on social media.

Project OPERA, which stands for Open Sea Wave Operating Experience to Reduce Energy Cost, is addressing the design and cost challenge of the moorings through the introduction of a novel mooring component – an elastomeric tether being developed by the University of Exeter.

Compared to conventional mooring ropes, elastomeric tethers have load-extension characteristics that permit significant reduction in peak loads and fatigue loads within the mooring system and at the hull connections, thus reducing the costs of these structures whilst improving reliability, according to the OPERA project website.

As part of the OPERA project, Marmok-A5 device – a point absorber OWC wave energy converter, developed by the Oceantec Energías Marinas, was deployed at Bimep test site in October 2016.

The final part for the commissioning of the device, a mooring load measurement unit used to provide data link to monitor extreme conditions at the site, was installed by a team of experts from the University of Exeter, Oceantec Energías Marinas and dive company CDA Bilbao.

A second 12 month deployment phase is scheduled for 2017, when polyester ropes used in the mooring system will be replaced with a novel elastomeric mooring tether.

OPERA, consisting of 12-member international consortium, aims to develop technology that would reduce the cost of operating wave energy devices at sea for 50%, accelerate the development of international standards and reduce uncertainties and technological risks.

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