C-Gen Neptune gearing up to ride the waves

Markus Mueller, Head of the Institute for Energy Systems at the UoE, leading the C-Gen project (Photo: University of Edinburgh)

The C-Gen Neptune generator for wave energy applications is making progress towards demonstration in real ocean environment, after the project received £2.5 million from Wave Energy Scotland.

The project, led by the University of Edinburgh, has seen the C-Gen Neptune generator developed to a working prototype, and has recently secured funding from Wave Energy Scotland (WES) to build the first units for production and testing offshore.

The C-Gen Neptune project involves partnership with several universities and companies, including the specialist engineering company Hayward Tyler, who is a 2nd tier partner on the project.

Out of £2.5 million awarded by WES, Hayward Tyler said £750,000 relates to its involvement in the project over the next 24 months.

The company added it was well placed to to manufacture and develop this technology, having recently completed the construction of its Centre of Excellence, a facility for specialist motor manufacture.

It boasts testing capabilities designed for the submersible, fluid filled electric motors, including 4 meter and 7 meter test pits and permanent magnet clean facilities.

The C-GEN generator is a novel direct drive linear generator which is easy to manufacture and assemble, as well as being highly efficient over a wide range of loads, typically 85-90% for wave applications from part to full load, according to WES.

A number of prototypes ranging in scale from 15kW to 1MW, have been demonstrated to confirm the scientific and technical rigour of the concept, including a 50kW prototype for wave energy applications.

According to the University of Edinburgh, the economic analysis of the C-Gen generator shows that a CAPEX of less than £500k/MW, and the LCoE target of £150/MWh are achievable depending upon the wave device and site.

For wave energy, the technology is at TRL4, and is now ready for development to TRL5-6, in which a 150kW demonstrator will be built and tested in the sea, satisfying the requirement for operation under suitable environment and loads.

The demonstrator will be modular, so that part or all of it can be integrated into a wave device in a WES Stage 4 project, the University of Edinburgh said.

In addition to the University of Edinburgh and Hayward Tyler, other partners in the project include Fountain Design, University of Strathclyde, Carnegie Clean Energy, Laminaria, and Supply Design.

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