Balmoral Comtec, the Aberdeen based polymer engineering specialist, was recently named as one of the companies successful in achieving funding for an engineering design study into alternative structural material and manufacturing processes to be used in the production of wave energy converters (WECs).
The research is part of Scottish Government-backed Wave Energy Scotland’s (WES) drive to produce efficient and reliable components and subsystems that will form the basis of cost effective wave energy generation. The initiative is designed to enable developers to take projects from conception to proving and demonstration.
To date WECs have predominantly been made of steel which, despite its qualities, has limiting characteristics including corrosion and high fabrication costs. Balmoral’s aim, working in partnership with CorPower Ocean AB and Wave Venture, is to identify and develop polymer-based ematerials and processes that will enhance the economic viability of wave energy projects while performing under severe environmental marine conditions and loads.
The ‘HydroComp’ research project will benefit from Balmoral’s expertise in areas such as materials, structural design and production of equipment for offshore environments. The results will inform the viability of hybrid fibre reinforced polymer materials for WECs.
Dr Aneel Gill of Balmoral, who is leading the research on behalf of the company, said: “Our 36-year history of polymer engineering and design puts us in a very strong position to assist with the development of these products. Although we are chiefly recognised for our pioneering work in the oilfield we have worked in the renewables sector for many years.
“Many of our products including buoyancy, cable protection and bend limiters are suited to the wave and tidal sectors in particular and we look forward to collaborating with our research partners on this exciting project.”