PolyWEC: New mechanisms and concepts for exploiting electroactive Polymers for Wave Energy Conversion

Wave energy has a great potential as renewable source of electricity. Studies have demonstrated that significant percentage of world electricity could be produced by Wave Energy Converters (WECs). However electricity generation from waves still lacks of spreading because the combination of harsh environment and form of energy makes the technical development of cost effective WECs particularly difficult.

This Project introduces a new class of Polymeric WECs (PolyWECs), characterized by the employment of Electroactive Elastomer (EE) transducers. The goal is to introduce a radical change in the traditional architecture of WECs that usually includes three basic components: mechanical wave absorbers, a mechanical transmission and a power take-off system. Due to their nature, PolyWECs can be conceived in a way that such three components are integrated into a single deformable lightweight and low-cost polymeric element.

The principle of operation is explained in a short video:

The aim of the Project is to develop new knowledge and new technologies aiming at:

  • optimizing EE materials for WEC applications
  • conceiving new electro-mechanical configurations for PolyWECs
  • studying the fluid-EE interaction through numerical simulations
  • performing wave-tank tests of small scale prototypes
  • providing economic and environmental assessment

The University of Edinburgh has been undertaking wave flume and wave basin tests of the wave energy converters and looking at the techno-economic assessment of the technology. Video from the flume tests is also available on YouTube:

PolyWec logo
PolyWEC polymeric wave energy converter

Project Website: 

Principal Investigator: 

Co-Investigators: 

Postgraduate Researchers: 

Research Institutes: 

  • Energy Systems

Research Themes: 

  • Electrical Power Conversion

Last modified: 

Thursday, November 15, 2018 - 14:49