Harvesting untapped wave energy represents both an attractive solution to support the move towards a carbon-free society and a major technical challenge to develop reliable Power Take-Off (PTO) systems that convert mechanical motion into electrical power. In recent years, all-electric PTO systems have been proposed with an aim to reduce system complexity in order to increase reliability and, ultimately, reduce the Levelized Cost of Energy (LCOE). This has led to the development of novel direct-drive generators that couple directly to the prime mover; the mechanical interface is therefore eliminated along with the wear and lubrication issues that have caused so many component failures in the wind energy industry. Despite the progress made in PTO design in recent years and the steps taken to reduce the LCOE of wave energy conversion, costs are still high compared to other renewable energy technologies where Operation and Maintenance (O&M) is still a key issue.
The project aims to reduce O&M costs by improving PTO reliability and simplifying maintenance through the use of integrated, power electronics – electrical machine, modular design. This aim addresses a very relevant and timely challenge in wave energy conversion by a need to reduce LCOE initially to be competitive alongside other renewable energy sources, with the longer-term goal to compete with established fossil-fuel generation.
Dr Jonathan Shek - Principal Investigator
Dr Jonathan Shek is a Senior Lecturer and Discipline Programme Manager at the University of Edinburgh. Dr Shek holds a Ph.D. in Electronics and Electrical Engineering and MEng (Hons) Electronics and Electrical Engineering, both from The University of Edinburgh. Dr Shek's research interests include control of linear electrical generators for direct drive wave energy converters, power conversion and control for lightweight PM generators for wind turbines, and fault tolerant control of power take-off systems for marine energy devices.