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KIC InnoEnergy: CorPower Ocean – Getting Closer to the Sea

Patrik Möller of CorPower Ocean. "During 2013 we will verify the energy absorption and internal efficiency of the devices. In early 2014 a half scale prototype will be ready for a test bench. We expect to have a full scale device by the end of 2015 that will be verified during 2016.

So Patrik, can you tell me about the recent funding that you have received?
For the ongoing verification projects we have received funding of about 5,5 MSEK (Note: Approximately € 600 000) from the Swedish Energy Agency, KIC InnoEnergy, Vinnova and Almi. We have two verifications projects running aiming to prove the key performance and cost numbers of our wave energy converters. In the first project we are investigating hydrodynamics and energy absorption by tank tests in Portugal. In the second project we are building a new generation prototype that will be tested in a hardware-in-the-loop setup at KTH. Our wave power technology has a good chance to reach competitive prices per kilowatt-hour and we are working hard to prove each part of the concept by a structured verification process that is addressing the best practices as defined by the IEA-OES.

From the number of people at CC Sweden´s office it seems like if CorPower is expanding rapidly. How many people are currently involved?
Except from me there is a group of about ten people in Sweden working with mechanics, power electronics, software, control and mathematic simulation. There are also five people involved in the experimental testing and numerical modeling in Portugal. And last but definitely not least Stig Lundbäck who is the inventor behind the CorPower technology.

So, what partners are currently involved in the project?
KIC InnoEnergy, Wave Energy Center and IST in Lisbon, Marintek in Trondheim and KTH in Stockholm.

What are the plans for 2013 and beyond?
During 2013 we will verify the energy absorption and internal efficiency of the devices – that should confirm the exceptional energy density per ton of apparatus as well as the levelized cost of energy model – so that we can make further benchmarking against competitors.

A half scale prototype will be ready for testing in a test bench in early 2014. The test bench will be able to simulate different wave environments such as the ones found at the coasts of Spain, Portugal or Scotland.

When is the estimated market launch?
We expect to have a full scale device by the end of 2015 that will be verified during 2016. In 2017 we should be in advanced pre-production phase with multiple pilot installations.

The market for wavepower today feels a bit immature, do you agree?
Well, there really is no market because the existing technology is still too expensive. Assuming that the ongoing tests will be successful and we can prove our performance and cost numbers through ocean testing in 2014-2016, this could quickly change the picture. Then hopefully wave power will become competitive with established energy sources.

What challenges do wave power have to overcome to reach the commercial viability?
Firstly the equipment has to survive in the different sea environments, especially the harsh fall and winter storms. Secondly the cost level has to be commercially competitive which means that it should be at the same level as offshore wind power, and preferably lower than that.