UGEN addressses two most important challenges of wave energy technology:
1) To date there is still no solution to harvest energy from ocean waves that has proven to be commercially viable in comparison with other sources, and a couple of failures in the past affected the perception we have about reliability and survivability in extreme weather conditions of wave energy converters;
2) The need to develop new power generation technology, which must be well aligned with the European regulatory system in terms of 20% reduction of CO2 emissions by the year 2020, and improve energy security so that 10-20% of the consumed energy in countries such as Portugal, Spain, France and the UK will be actually extracted from waves.
The UGEN technology consists of an asymmetric ﬂoater with an interior U-tank ﬁlled with water and two lateral air chambers connected by a duct where a reversible air turbine is installed to absorb the wave energy.
Major advantages are:
1) The water column is interior so that the system is completely closed and therefore intrinsically safe and robust because there are no moving parts in direct contact with the waves;
2) UGEN can oscillate in resonance with the incoming waves to increase power production;
3) The floater is kept in place with a slack mooring system and can be easily submerged under extreme weather conditions;
4) UGEN is the most cost effective wave power generation solution with a Levelized Cost of Electricity (LCOE) of 100-150 [€/MWh].
UGEN technology is currently at Technology-Readiness Level (TRL) 5, which means the technology has been validated in an experimental facility, and in 3/4 years UGEN will be in the market atfter prototype deployment in a pilot-zone and the technology has been proven in operational environment (competitive manufacturing and systems integration).
Both private and public funding will be considered to support technology development from TRL 5 to 9. This venture will be conducted by a team of 8 well experienced professionals from University (IST) and Industry (WavEC Offshore Renewables).
Return of initial seed investment of 500 k€ and the next 7.5 M€ to move from TRL 5 to 9 should be agreed between parties in terms and conditions to de soon defined.
Companies/investors willing to invest in a new offshore renewable source of energy.
The UGEN development pathway will comprise a:
1st stage of 12 months duration to deal with legal aspects of creation of the UGEN spin-off company, which will allow to contract engineering services to conduct the detailed design of the main systems and experimental model testing at a large scale of about 1:10 (where the model should be fitted with a fully functional scaled model of the optimal Wells turbine selected and also tested in extreme weather conditions); 2nd stage of 21 months duration to deploy a full-scale prototype in the pilot-zone along with initial product industrialization activities, and; 3rd stage of 6 months duration to conduct pre-commercialization activities such as obtain market certification and due sales authorizations of the UGEN.
This plan aims to turn that opportunity into reality by focusing effort on key techno-economic challenges and proposing concrete actions for the period 2015-2018. These actions will be taken on a step-by-step basis, underpinned by a comprehensive development program and subjected to a thorough decision making process by the well informed and experienced team gathered at IST and WavEC. In particular, it is suggested to stop the development of the UGEN at the end of stages 1 or 2 in case the criterion of a very competitive LCOE of 100-150 [€/MWh] cannot be met.
Ready to operate wave farm of 40 UGENs of 20 [MW].
Partners from Industry, business angels or venture capital funds.
All coastal areas having large wave energy resources available