Nav: Home

The wave power farm off Mutriku could improve its efficiency

December 28, 2017

The offshore power plant or wave farm at Mutriku is the only commercial facility (it is not a prototype) in the world that operates by regularly feeding the grid with electrical power produced by waves. It has been operating since 2011 and the study by the UPV/EHU's EOLO group analysed its behaviour during the 2014-2016 period. "It is important to find out how the wave power farm is actually performing, to analyse how the technology used is behaving, and to observe what deficiencies or advantages it has in order to help to improve it," said Gabriel Ibarra-Berastegi, the lead author of the study. "Extracting energy from the waves is in its early stages and various types of devices and technologies are currently being developed. They include the OWC (Oscillating Water Column) technology used at Mutriku," he added.

In OWC technology the turbines are not driven by the waves directly but by a mass of compressed air. It is a structure in which the upper part forms an air chamber and the lower part is submerged in the water. That way the turbine takes advantage of the movement produced by the wave both when it advances and recedes, and the generator to which it is coupled feeds the power into the grid. "The turbines generate electricity which is regularly sold to the electricity grid. In the case of Mutriku this happens 75% of the time. The plant shuts down from time to time when the waves are very calm or even when they are too rough," explained Ibarra.

Output indicator

The research focussed on the study and analysis of the operational data provided by the Basque Energy Agency, which manages the plant. After analysing and ordering these data, "we saw that one output indicator is the Capacity Factor (CF), which allows different technologies for producing electricity to be compared," explained the lead researcher of the article. "In this case we calculated the CF of the Mutriku farm and its value is 0.11, while wind energy facilities have a CF in the region of 0.2-0.3, and solar plants 0.4. That indicates that the OWC technology at Mutriku needs to improve its CF to put it on a par with the values of the remaining renewable energy sources," said Ibarra. "We believe that the way to achieve this is to improve the regulation and control of the speed at which the turbines rotate, in other words, to properly manage the speed at which the turbine rotates in relation to the advancing waves," he concluded.

According to Gabriel Ibarra, "these conclusions drawn from the data on a real farm like that of Mutriku constitute a step forward whereby it is possible to focus and identify the next steps to be taken so that OWC technology can attain a level of maturity, thus facilitating the introduction and deployment of these farms".
-end-
Bibliographical reference

G. Ibarra-Berastegi, J. Senz, A. Ulazia, P. Serras, G. Esnaola, C. Garca-Soto (2018). "Electricity production, capacity factor, and plant efficiency index at the Mutriku wave farm (2014-2016)". Ocean Engineering. Vol. 147. Pages 20-29. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.oceaneng.2017.10.018

University of the Basque Country

Related Technology Articles:

How technology use affects at-risk adolescents
More use of technology led to increases in attention, behavior and self-regulation problems over time for adolescents already at risk for mental health issues, a new study from Duke University finds.
Hold-up in ventures for technology transfer
The transfer of technology brings ideas closer to commercialization. The transformation happens in several steps, such as invention, innovation, building prototypes, production, market introduction, market expansion, after sales services.
The ultimate green technology
Imagine patterning and visualizing silicon at the atomic level, something which, if done successfully, will revolutionize the quantum and classical computing industry.
New technology detects COPD in minutes
Pioneering research by Professor Paul Lewis of Swansea University's Medical School into one of the most common lung diseases in the UK, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, has led to the development of a new technology that can quickly and easily diagnose and monitor the condition.
New technology for powder metallurgy
Tecnalia leads EFFIPRO (Energy EFFIcient PROcess of Engineering Materials) project, which shows a new manufacturing process using powder metallurgy.
New milestone in printed photovoltaic technology
A team of researchers at Friedrich-Alexander-Universit├Ąt have achieved an important milestone in the quest to develop efficient solar technology as an alternative to fossil fuels.
Gene Drive Technology: Where is the future?
For this episode of BioScience Talks, we're joined by Gene Drive Committee co-chair James P.
Could Hollywood technology help your health?
The same technology used by the entertainment industry to animate characters such as Gollum in 'The Lord of The Rings' films, will be used to help train elite athletes, for medical diagnosis and even to help improve prosthetic limb development, in a new research center at the University of Bath launched today.
Assessing carbon capture technology
Carbon capture and storage could be used to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions and thus ameliorate their impact on climate change.
New technology for dynamic projection mapping
It has been thought technically difficult to achieve projection mapping onto a moving/rotating object so that images look as though they are fixed to the object.

Related Technology Reading:

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Anthropomorphic
Do animals grieve? Do they have language or consciousness? For a long time, scientists resisted the urge to look for human qualities in animals. This hour, TED speakers explore how that is changing. Guests include biological anthropologist Barbara King, dolphin researcher Denise Herzing, primatologist Frans de Waal, and ecologist Carl Safina.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#SB2 2019 Science Birthday Minisode: Mary Golda Ross
Our second annual Science Birthday is here, and this year we celebrate the wonderful Mary Golda Ross, born 9 August 1908. She died in 2008 at age 99, but left a lasting mark on the science of rocketry and space exploration as an early woman in engineering, and one of the first Native Americans in engineering. Join Rachelle and Bethany for this very special birthday minisode celebrating Mary and her achievements. Thanks to our Patreons who make this show possible! Read more about Mary G. Ross: Interview with Mary Ross on Lash Publications International, by Laurel Sheppard Meet Mary Golda...