Hudson Beare, Lecture Theatre 2
Friday, April 24, 2015 - 13:00 to 14:00
Speaker: Dr. Chris Retzler
Title: Wave Energy and the Pelamis Experience
Ocean wave energy has great attraction and promise: the resource is huge; it has a valuable seasonal correlation with demand; it is harvestable at coastlines and so in general fits geographically with the distribution of human population. There are major engineering challenges and considerable logistical and environmental constraints but, nonetheless, there have been machines manufactured and deployed that have creatively risen to the call.
Some key goals for manufacturers are: survivability of extremes; energy productivity; structural efficiency; reliability; and practicality of installation, operation and maintenance. All must be achieved within budget constraints such that the rate of return on investment is attractive to investors and the levelised cost of energy produced is acceptable to consumers.
Specifically, this means that the statistics of machine responses to extremes must be established; that the hydrodynamic and power train efficiency must be high; that the structure should be sufficient to sustain peak and fatigue loads; quality control, monitoring and components must evolve to support reliability; the cost of operations at sea should be aggressively reduced.
In addition to these technical objectives, there are the project development requirements of site identification and preparation, infrastructure, social and environmental concerns, leasing, permitting, insurance, etc. Moreover, while satisfying all of the above, funding must be secured, continually refreshed, and the confidence of investors maintained over the time to market.
Drawing on the experience of Pelamis, the presentation will share some of the challenges and achievements of ocean wave energy.
Dr Chris Retzler earned his PhD at Edinburgh as part of the Wave Power Project in 1988. He followed that with fellowships, first at City University London then University of Southampton pursuing experimentally based research in fluid-body interactions applied to marine engineering. In addition to experimentation and analysis, he designed and built a range of laboratory equipment including wave tanks, actuators, bespoke instrumentation, video PIV kit and a novel wave energy converter. In 1998, he joined the start-up Pelamis Wave Power as a co-founder with the role of Principal Scientist, responsible for experimentation and wave resource assessment, remaining until the dissolution of the company at the end of 2014. He currently has a contract with Wave Energy Scotland securing intellectual property and transferring knowledge out of Pelamis and into University of Edinburgh, FloWave and the public domain.
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