ENEA and the Polytechnic of Turin present the new version of the PEndulum wave energy converter, a device created specifically to take advantage of the waves of the Mediterranean Sea.
Producing electricity from the sea with an innovative and inexpensive system, also suitable for closed basins and able to compete with more mature renewable technologies. This is the goal of the project PEndulum Wave Energy Converter (PEWEC).
The initiative is signed by the Italian ENEA (National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development) and the Polytechnic of Turin, which present an advanced version of the system. Tested for the first time in Rome in 2016 on a scale of 1:12, the device is mainly composed of a floating hull moored to the seabed and a pendulum connected to the shaft of an electric generator that is part of the hull structure. The oscillation of the pendulum makes it possible to produce electricity from the sea, taking advantage of the waves of low height and high frequency.
PEWEC 2.0 has some technological improvements over the previous version. A 1:25 scale prototype was tested at the Vasca Navale of the Federico II University of Naples to study the response of the hull and moorings to extreme waves.
Gianmaria Sannino, head of the ENEA laboratory for modeling and climate impacts.
The experiment exposed PEWEC to particularly high waves, both regular and irregular, artificially generated in the test tank. The result was that the device showed a excellent resistance and electrical performance even under extreme conditions. These types of tests are crucial for evaluating the performance and endurance of converters, even in critical storm surge situations.
The team’s next step will be to develop a 1:1 scale model to be installed on the “most energetic” coasts of the Mediterranean, such as those of western Sardinia or the Sicilian Channel. The final version will have a power of 525 kW. And it will measure 15 m long, 23 wide and 7.5 high for a weight, ballast included, of more than 1,000 tons.
The project also envisions researchers working to reduce costs and increase efficiency.
The Polytechnic of Turin team has developed advanced numerical codes for technology development and prediction of the deliverability of the PEWEC device.
Giuliana Mattiazzo, director of the MOREnergy Lab research center.
To estimate the potential market in the Mediterranean basin, they start from these data: in Italy, there are more than 50 small islands with an average population of around 2,500 inhabitants, an average consumption per inhabitant of 6 kWh/d and a very high cost of energy. A dozen of these devices could produce electricity for a city of 3,000 inhabitantscontributing significantly to the fight against pollution and erosion by reducing the energy of the waves breaking on the coast, without significantly affecting the marine fauna and flora.