Blowing doubters away: Wave Swell's "blowhole" OWC completes one year of power production

December 09, 2022 | Case Study

The concept of oscillating water column (OWC) wave energy converters (WECs) has existed since the 1990s, with one of the earliest developers, Wavegen, deploying a grid-connected OWC-WEC called LIMPET (land-installed marine power energy transmitter) in Islay, Scotland in 2002. There have been other installations of OWCs, most notably the wave energy system in Mutruiku, Spain. However, OWCs have failed to commercialize worldwide despite being suited to onshore/nearshore sites (as they bring cost reductions compared to far-offshore systems). This is likely because the traditional OWC design used a bidirectional turbine (a Wells turbine) with low power conversion efficiency. Australian OWC-WEC technology company Wave Swell Energy develops an OWC that is a modified version of the traditional design; the startup deployed its demonstration prototype Uniwave on King Island in June 2021 and a grid-connected system of energy production in June 2022, believed to be Australia's first successful wave energy trial.

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