Why Onshore/Nearshore?

In search of the high energy potential available in offshore waves, several wave energy developers have located their systems offshore. However, these systems struggled to commercialize due to:

  • High costs: The CAPEXs associated with offshore systems are high, as there are high costs implicit in the installation, maintenance, and connection to the electrical grid of such systems. Since their offshore deployment requires the use of ships, divers, underwater electrical transmission cables, and underwater mooring.
  • Low Reliability: Off-shore ocean climates are often extremely harsh and can experience wave heights as high as twenty meters. Stationary man-made machinery struggles to survive in these types of conditions for extended periods of time.

  • Lack of insurability surrounding off-shore systems: The high-costs and low reliability associated with offshore wave energy systems, created an issue with getting insurance for the offshore wave energy power stations.

  • Negative environmental impact of offshore systems: Environmental organizations have considerable say in the deployment of new technologies. However, many have objected to the deployment of offshore wave energy systems as many of them require mooring to the ocean floor, which disturbs local marine habitats and to potentially impeded marine migration.

Resulting from the difficulties experienced by the offshore competitors in the wave energy sector, Eco Wave Power decided to take a different approach by installing its’ systems in the onshore and nearshore environment & attaching it to marine structures, such as breakwaters.

A new study in the wave energy sector supports Eco Wave Power’s approach. For example, in Figure 1, we can see that although the maximum wave power is higher offshore, the exploitable level of power in the offshore and nearshore is practically the same, due to the following:

Figure: Wave power variations relative to proximity of WEC to the shore (source: https://waveenergyconversiontamu15.weebly.com/theory-of-wave-energy–availability.html

In deep water, waves can travel in almost any direction, making it difficult to extract energy. As they approach the shore, they turn towards it, so WECs positioned in near-shore locations almost always encounter waves coming from the same direction. This significantly boosts the quantity of energy captured. Furthermore, wave profiles are usually milder closer to shore: maximum wave heights in near-shore areas are closer to average wave heights – implying that WECs in near-shore areas tend to encounter more stable sea states – providing highly exploitable wave energy resources compared to off-shore locations.

A study[1] by the Indian Institute of Technology is also supporting the claim that the best location for energy generation is indeed breakwaters.

A support of such advantages of onshore wave energy can be seen in a recent study by the Institute of Marine Sciences and Technology at Dokuz Eylül University which determines that onshore technologies have significantly higher survivability  and is more cost effective than offshore solutions.[2]

Moreover, Eco Wave Power appeared in a recent study by Dr. Peter Harrop which finds that interest in waterpower is on the rise again as large orders are landed.[3] The new vibrancy primarily concerns avoiding huge infrastructure and putting simpler devices particularly in the sea. At last, marketing led approaches satisfy new needs, particularly in a vast number of cases where cost of electricity is not key. He also mentioned Eco Wave Power in his detailed study as one of the most dominant technology and provides deep technology analysis. In his study, he is forecasting that the market will rise to at least USD 100 billion.

 

[1] https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S002980181830903X

[2] https:/www.anmb.ro/buletinstiintific/buletine/2016_Issue1/FCS/408-417.pdf

[3] Dr. Peter Harrop,  Wave, Tidal and Hydro Power 1W-10MW 2018-2038