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WaveRoller - turning waves into electricity

Finnish firm AW-Energy is tapping into wave power as a clean energy source. A loan supported by the InnovFin-EU finance for innovators initiative under the EU's Horizon 2020 programme and extended by the European Investment Bank has helped it bring its WaveRoller device to the commercialisation phase.

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The WaveRoller comprises a submerged steel panel hinged to a concrete foundation and a power take-off unit (PTO) that converts the power of the waves into electricity. The device is mounted on the sea bed between 0.3 and 2 kilometres from the shore at depths of between 8 and 20 metres. The panel moves back and forth along with the waves, capturing surges and feeding the PTO, which drives a generator. Electricity enters the grid through an undersea cable and a substation on land.

The first full-scale WaveRoller is set to be installed at Peniche, Portugal.

To ensure that the WaveRoller meets industrial, customer and legal requirements, AW-Energy has undertaken a rigorous certification process with Lloyd’s Register.

‘WaveRoller is the only third-party validated and certified wave energy technology system. It provides a clean energy source, which is predictable several days in advance,’ says AW-Energy communications manager Riina Rinkinen. ‘The device can be used as a single unit or in wave farms. It is environmentally friendly, acts as an artificial reef for marine life and has little to no visual impact as it is mostly submerged.’

Innovative aspects include patented accumulators that allow energy to be stored and fed into the grid at constant levels, even when wave power fluctuates. With some modifications, the WaveRoller could also turn salt water into freshwater, thus helping tackle water shortages.

Wave energy studies

The technology can be used in many different locations and AW-Energy offers studies to gauge wave energy production potential and identify suitable sites for deployment. Wherever it is put into operation, the WaveRoller creates jobs, particularly in construction and maintenance, Rinkinen adds.

To support the system’s commercialisation, AW-Energy has built strong industrial partnerships, such as with technology group Wärtsilä, and is currently developing its first commercial-scale wave energy projects.

‘We have an engineering, procurement and construction agreement with Wärtsilä who will sell WaveRoller on a turn-key basis,’ says Rinkinen.

AW-Energy is also in the process of developing a larger capacity 1 megawatt PTO under the MegaRoller project with several partners, including universities and other companies, and the support of a Horizon 2020 grant. The aim of the project is to further drive down the cost of electricity produced from wave energy and facilitate the commercial application of wave energy technology, even in the most competitive markets.

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Project details

Project acronym
Project number
Project coordinator: Finland
Project participants:
Total cost
€ 10 000 000
EU Contribution
€ 10 000 000

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