Wave Energy Device New Zealand (WET-NZ)

Wave Energy Device New Zealand (WET-NZ)

As the wind blows over the surface of the ocean it creates waves by transferring energy to the marine system. Wave energy converters such as the device developed by WET-NZ can capture some of this energy, which can then be transmitted to shore as electricity. The potential of wave power as a future energy source has led to an increasing amount of attention from national governments around the world. Wave energy is a resource that is renewable and could provide a country such as New Zealand with security of supply, as well as help to achieve the target of being 90% reliant on renewable electricity by 2025. In fact, it has been shown that New Zealand has one of the richest wave energy resources in the world, both geographically and commercially. The WET-NZ wave energy converter is a 'point absorber' device with some special characteristics that enable it to extract energy from passing waves. The device is floating but the majority of it is submerged so that as much of it as possible interacts directly with the wave energy. An object immersed in a wave field is subjected to complex motions – heave (up and down), surge (back and forth) and pitch (a rolling back and forth motion). Most devices extract only a small proportion of the total energy of a passing wave. Unlike other wave energy technologies, the WET-NZ device is designed to extract as much energy as possible from more all types of wave motion, producing power from the relative rotational motion between the hull and float.

Objective
  • Demonstrate a safe, reliable and low-maintenance wave energy converter that has excellent performance characteristics (e.g., high availability and capacity factor).

  • Demonstrate a cost-competitive and robust technology, in terms of capital costs ($/

Unique Selling Propositions
  • This has been proven in storms in New Zealand and through tank testing in the US where a model survived a 100 year wave. The only device to do so to date is in testing at Oregon State University.
  • The Wave Energy Converter has solved the end-stop problem which means it can operate in any sea conditions without breaking.
Applications
  • Supply of devices to pilot projects in the technology development market.
  • The supply of electricity to remote communities and offshore drilling rigs.
IP Strategy

A patent has been granted in New Zealand. Patent applications are pending in Australia, Europe and US.

Project Status

Proof of Concept - Early prototype built