The Peninsula Research Institute for Marine Renewable Energy (PRIMaRE) has ordered eight Fugro Oceanor Seawatch Mini II buoys to form the core of an instrumentation network at the Wave Hub site off the South West of England.
The UK£28M Wave Hub project aims to create the UK’s first offshore facility for the demonstration and proving of arrays of wave energy generation devices (WECs). The Wave Hub facility will provide a well defined and monitored site with electrical connection to the onshore national grid. Four different proven commercial WEC manufacturers – Oceanlinx, Ocean Power Technologies Ltd, Fred Olsen and WestWave, a consortium of E.ON and Ocean Prospect Ltd – will each have a berth to connect a number of their devices to the Wave Hub’s sea bed ‘socket’ which is approximately 16 km offshore and at a depth of 50m.
PRIMaRE, which is directly linked to the Wave Hub project, is tasked to monitor and characterise the wave climate at the site. The eight directional wave sensor buoys will facilitate this with detailed coverage of the 2km by 4km deployment area. More significantly, as a part of an extensive but highly integrated system of oceanographic, meteorological and environmental monitoring equipment at the Wave Hub site, the buoy array will constitute a world leading facility giving researchers in wave energy a unique opportunity to work with much richer and detailed data sets.
The buoy array will also be an important part of the Wave Hub’s infrastructure, feeding wave information to the WEC devices. In one mode of operation the buoys will be able to deliver synchronized live and continuous data streams that will allow a local description of the sea surface to be computed in near real time. This data can be provided as a live feed to the WEC devices to help optimize their energy output.
The Wave Hub project will cover an area of sea measuring 4km by 2km and each wave device developer will be granted a lease of between five and 10 years in an area of approximately 2km2. The water at the deployment site is approximately 50m deep.
Up to 30 wave energy devices are expected to be deployed at Wave Hub and will float on the surface of the sea. The project is expected to be operational in 2009.
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