A pioneering wave energy converter prototype has commenced trials in the waters off Falmouth.
The wave energy device is the first wave energy converter to be built almost entirely from high-density polyethylene (HDPE) – a common yet affordable engineering material.
Called Volta, the device was designed by UK-based Polygen Ltd and will continue tests at the wave energy test site, FaBTest, in Falmouth Bay over the coming year.
Volta is the second device to be deployed at FaBTest – the only wave energy-testing site of its kind in England, initiated by Falmouth Harbour Commissioners (FHC). The Fred Olsen Bolt Lifesaver device was commissioned earlier this year following two years at the test facility.
The FaBTest ‘nursery’ facility enables up to three devices to be deployed and tested concurrently. Wave energy device developers can test components, concepts or full-scale devices in a moderate wave climate on the Falmouth site.
Rob Eavis, business development manager, PolyGen, said: “FaBTest was the first choice for PolyGen to test the Volta wave energy converter. The occasional extreme wave conditions makes it an ideal site for us to prove the strengths of our flexible design, whilst the frequent periods of very calm conditions allow us regular access to the device for monitoring and engineering works.”
The marine operations management of the deployment and mooring of the device was carried out by local engineer, Mojo Maritime. The assembly and slipway facilities at Marine Design’s Ponsharden facility were utilised for the construction and launch of the device. Local companies Sub Marine Services Ltd and Marine and Towage Services Ltd were also involved in Volta’s installation.
Julian German, portfolio holder for economy and culture at Cornwall Council and a member of the LEP board, said: “Marine renewable energy represents a huge opportunity for our economy and local supply chain and FaBTest is helping to cement Cornwall’s position at the forefront of this developing industry.
“PolyGen is exactly the type of company we are seeking to attract and we wish them all the best with their sea trials.”