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Elastomeric mooring tether being prepared for upload onto UNION BEAR (Photo: University of Exeter)

Pioneering mooring rope deployed at a cutting-edge wave energy device

A sophisticated new type of mooring rope has been successfully deployed at a cutting-edge wave energy device, marking a significant new milestone for the project.

The elastomeric mooring tethers – which address cost and reliability challenges – have been installed at the BiMEP test site in the Bay of Biscay, on the northern coast of Spain.

The pioneering tethers were developed and tested by Renewable Energy experts from the University of Exeter in the Dynamic Marine Component (DMaC) test facility, based at the Penryn Campus in Cornwall.

The two, 70 metre-long tethers have been installed as part of the state-of-the-art wave device Marmok-A-5 from technology developer Oceantec, which used wave power to spin turbines that drive an associated electricity generator that can produce up to 30 kW – enough to run a medium-sized business.

The deployment operation has been successfully executed by Marine Contractor Core Marine under the close supervision of OPERA partners Oceantec and Tecnalia.

This wave energy technology development has been supported by the European project OPERA (‘Open Sea Operating Experience to Reduce Wave Energy Cost’), a multi cross European project supported by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme.

The project aims to develop and de-risk technologies that will reduce the cost of operating wave energy devices at sea by 50% and subsequently accelerate the roll out of marine renewable energy.

Professor Lars Johanning, Principle investigator for the project and an expert in Ocean Technology from the University of Exeter’s Penryn Campus in Cornwall said: “This was a long way from an original design idea towards seeing the full scale tether being installed in this field demonstration project and I’m proud of the team effort that has made this a reality, and I am particular thankful to Dr David Parish the lead inventor.”

The tethers, manufactured by Lankhorst Euronete, based in Paredes in Portugal, are part of the next phase of field demonstration over a 12-month period, replacing two conventional polyester ropes in the shared mooring system.

The purpose of the second deployment will be to demonstrate that elastomeric mooring components can address cost and durability challenges for marine renewable energy moorings.

The installation of the tether sets a milestone in the demonstration of the wave energy converter ‘Marmok-A-5’ developed by Oceantec Energías Marinas, introducing a set of innovative components to improve economic viability of wave energy.

The OPERA project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 654444.

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Date: 26 June 2018