Hempel agrees partnership with AW Energy
Hempel has been chosen by AW Energy to supply coatings for a revolutionary wave energy pilot project taking place in Peniche, Portugal. The first 3x100 kW WaveRoller pilot power plant will be deployed in July 2012, and will immediately begin producing energy for the Portuguese national grid.
The WaveRoller at the Port of Peniche in Portugal waiting for the installation of the panels.
"The WaveRoller concept is different from other wave energy projects as it can produce energy even when wave resources are not so good," explains John Liljelund, CEO AW Energy. "The WaveRoller operates in the nearshore area, where it is protected from the worst weather conditions. Operation and maintenance is also easier close to the shore. The pilot plant has three independent units of 100 kW each, so it can be considered a wave farm."
The WaveRoller is a submerged wave energy converter with a 'panel' that follows the back-and-forth movement of the water near the shore. The panel drives a generator to produce energy, which is transferred to shore by an undersea cable. The units are floated into position and submerged by flooding the ballast tanks. If any maintenance is needed, the tanks are simply refilled with air to bring the unit back to the surface.
Dry land tests of the units have already been performed in several wave states that simulate real-life undersea conditions. The results, which exceeded expectations, have attracted the interest of several utility companies and investment partners.
For the first grid connected pilot power plant, AW Energy have asked leading coating's supplier Hempel to supply coatings to protect the units from corrosion and fouling while they are in operation. "The units are completely environmentally neutral and the project is taking place in a nature reserve, so it was important to us to choose a coatings supplier with a good environmental track record in marine coatings. This was one of the reasons we chose Hempel," Liljelund explains.
Hempel will supply standard protective coatings for the units, as well as Hempasil X3 for the the moving panels. Hempasil X3 uses hydrogel technology to render steel 'invisible' to marine life, and so stops barnacles, seaweed and other organisms attaching to the hull. The resulting improvement in hydrodynamics can help ship operators reduce fuel consumption and associated CO2 emissions by up to eight per cent - and Hempasil X3 has won numerous awards, including the Seatrade Award for its contribution to Protection of the Marine and Atmospheric Environment.
"Wave power is still in the experimental stage," says Anders Voldsgaard Clausen, Group Wind Power Segment Manager at Hempel. "But we've looked closely at this particular project and think it looks very realistic. We were involved in the first wind energy projects 30 years ago, and we're keen to support good initiatives in other areas of renewable energy."
The WaveRoller's panels move the the waves, even in low wave conditions, to drive a generator. The energy is transported to shore via an undersea cable.
AW Energy has currently in ongoing negotiations with utility companies about wave energy farms in Europe and the Americas. If they are successful, WaveRoller could prove to be a significant addition to the world's energy mix in the future.