Wave Energy Scotland launches first £7 million technology innovation competition

Wave Energy Scotland (WES), the new research and development body funded by the Scottish Government, is open for business with the launch of its first international technology innovation competition.

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Part of Highlands and Islands Enterprise, WES is issuing a competitive project call for innovative power take-off (PTO) systems. Applications are invited from innovative technology developers who require investment to advance their technology through rigorous testing and, in time, towards commercialisation.

Successful applicants will be eligible for contracts that cover up to 100 percent of the cost of their technology development project, and contracts will range from between £100,000 and £4 million, depending on the maturity of the technology.

The PTO system competitive call is the first of five calls to be run over the next year, with support from the Carbon Trust, the Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult and the University of Edinburgh. Wave Energy Scotland’s objective is to put wave energy technology developed in Scotland on the path towards a reliable, commercial product that generates electricity at no more than £150/MWh.

Energy Minister Fergus Ewing said: “This is an important day for Wave Energy Scotland. This project call is the first opportunity for innovative technology developers to get involved in Wave Energy Scotland and drive the direction of the wave energy sector. We recognise the wide range of expertise that exists beyond the energy sector. Wave Energy Scotland is a great platform for a collaborative effort between various industries and gives us the chance to support developers in Scotland to produce solutions for the cost effective generation of wave energy around the world.”

Tim Hurst, Interim Director, Wave Energy Scotland commented: “Wave Energy Scotland will take a fresh approach to resolving the issues which so often hamper the early stages of developing innovative technology. It is an exciting time for the wave energy sector in Scotland and WES offers a great opportunity to draw on the expertise which exists in industry and academia across the country. Wave Energy Scotland is now open for business and we encourage anyone with a best in class solution for PTO systems to submit their ideas.”

Michael Rea, Chief Operating Officer at the Carbon Trust added: “The Carbon Trust is very excited to be supporting Wave Energy Scotland in its efforts to help the development of the most promising wave energy technologies, subsystems and components. It is critical to drive convergence of device design to ultimately reduce the costs of commercialisation of wave energy technology. A collaborative approach to innovation will be essential in helping to achieve these objectives and we are looking forward to see what novel ideas can be supported through this first innovation competition.”

Recent assessments of the wave energy market estimate that, by 2050, projects totalling a capacity of up to 130GW Globally (IEA[1]) could be installed with much of the development potential in well supported markets, with strong subsidies for renewable energy, in the UK and Europe. This huge potential could create a multi-billion pound market for power take-off systems, which typically represent around a quarter of the capital costs for a wave energy machine.

The inherent challenge for the wave energy sector is to convert the high force provided by low velocity waves into the high velocity movement required to generate electricity. When coupled with the need to survive very harsh marine conditions while making a device cost-competitive with other forms of offshore renewables energy, it creates one of the great engineering challenges of the 21st Century.

WES is calling for innovative ideas from Scotland’s marine energy sector and beyond to provide a step change in the capital cost and performance over current technologies. Technology transfer from the automotive, offshore wind, aerospace, defence, maritime and oil & gas sectors could help support early step changes in the levelised-cost-of-energy (LCOE) for the wave sector via lower capital costs, and improved efficiency or reliability at the subsystem or device level.

Innovators will need to demonstrate they meet specific ‘gate entry’ criteria in order to be assessed and the competition is open to any organisation with registered operations in the Europe Union.

Applications will be assessed according to their technical and commercial merit, impact on cost reduction and performance. Any intellectual property generated through a project supported by WES will lie with the applicant.

To find out more about Wave Energy Scotland and how to apply for this open call visit www.waveenergyscotland.co.uk

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