UK and Australia-based Bombora has entered into an agreement with energy industry leader Technip FMC to develop a floating offshore wind foundation incorporating Bombora’s mWave technology
Phase 1 of the two-phase InSPIRE (integrated semi-submersible platform with innovative renewable energy) project will see the development of a 12-MW platform combining an 8-MW offshore wind turbine with a 4-MW mWave unit on a shared floating substructure.
Phase 2 of the project will focus on commercialising an 18-MW integrated platform, with a 12-MW turbine and a 6-MW mWave.
Bombora said that, working with TechnipFMC, it is forming a consortium to develop and test the 12-MW platform at an established European test site. The company said the consortium will include an energy company, academic leaders and industry professionals.
“InSPIRE will validate the competitive levelised cost of energy target for an integrated floating wave and wind platform below €50/MWh (US$61/MWh) by 2030,” the company said.
“The project will also demonstrate the advantages of combining wind and wave resources to produce more dispatchable power.”
mWave is a patented membrane-style wave energy converter in which a series of air-inflated rubber membrane-covered concave cells are mounted to a structure below the ocean surface, creating an air-filled volume.
To maximise energy capture, the structure is arranged at an angle to the incoming waves. As waves pass overhead, air is pushed out of each cell through a series of valves into a one-way air-duct . The cells are refilled once the wave has passed.
The flexible membrane is made from industrial grade rubber. Bombora said the longstanding use of similar materials in a range of marine applications has demonstrated the material’s reliability and longevity.
mWave has no external parts, other than the flexible rubber membranes. The rubber cell membrane extracts power simply, without complex mechanisms, reducing maintenance requirements.
The mWave’s cell modules have the ability to shut down in extreme storm events. “Limiting the loads reduces capital costs and improves the all-important cost of electricity,” said the company.
The air flow in the duct drives an unidirectional flow turbine which in turns drives a variable-speed generator. This type of turbine and generator are off-the shelf technology, adapted for the mWave operating envelope.
Electricity from the generator is transferred to the shore via a subsea cable. Following a process of power conditioning, the electricity is delivered to the grid.
All operations and maintenance are achievable using existing service vessels used in both fixed bottom wind and the offshore oil and gas industries.