SOTO works with renewable energy pioneer Wave Swell Energy to harness the ocean’s power

Posted on August 12, 2019 in Design Engineering, Featured, Mechanical Engineering & News

Harnessing ocean waves for energy is a fast-developing area of renewable power technology. Corporations and governments around the world are investing in fixed as well as floating plants to convert wave motion into power, and Australia is part of this quiet revolution.

Australian innovators leading wave energy charge

SOTO is working on a significant project with Wave Swell Energy (WSE), an Australian wave energy pioneer with a unique proprietary variant of oscillating water column (OWC) technology. The WSE OWCs work with unidirectional flow of waves, avoiding the inefficiency and complexity of bidirectional OWCs, which require turbines to operate on receding (reverse) wave flow. This sophisticated engineering also lowers the operating cost of the turbine.

SOTO is working on a significant project with Wave Swell Energy (WSE), an Australian wave energy pioneer with a unique proprietary variant of oscillating water column (OWC) technology.

Figure 1 Wave Generator Assembly

Off the east coast of King Island in Tasmania, WSE is installing a 200kW wave-powered turbine generator. The project, currently in its execution phase, will eventually generate and feed electricity back to the electricity grid, and could also be used to power a desalination plant on the island.

WSE’s collaboration on this King Island Renewable Energy Integration Project is especially prestigious as the generator will be part of a world-first hybrid electricity grid, with solar and wind power generation included in the overall energy mix. The success of this project would demonstrate the commercial viability of WSE’s large-scale wave-power technology.

What makes this an especially prestigious project is that the generator will be part of a world-first hybrid electricity grid, with solar and wind power generation included in the overall energy mix.

 

SOTO at the centre of local manufacture

SOTO Engineers has been engaged by WSE to facilitate the manufacture, fabrication, and assembly of the turbine unit. The SOTO team has produced a set of detailed manufacturing drawings for the tender and procurement of the turbine’s assembly components and ancillary structures. The turbine generator itself has been designed by Mechanical Solutions Inc (MSI), an American firm specialising in the design of rotating equipment, such as wave turbines.

SOTO has further offered its expertise in managing the tender and procurement as well as the Inspection Test Plan (ITP) and Quality Assurance (QA) for the manufacture of the turbine. The SOTO team has the proficiency to ensure that the equipment is manufactured to the exact requirements of the project.

SOTO has been requested to undertake a thorough engineering assessment of the initial safety designs. The SOTO team will make recommendations on any improvements in the design of the shut-off door mechanism for ocean water that is the central safety feature. These improvements will be suggested by SOTO with an eye on smoother construction and easier maintenance. SOTO will engineer and manufacture this key component of the system to withstand the tough environmental conditions and high loads it will encounter during operation.

The Project Manager, Tom Wilson, has acknowledged SOTO Engineers’ high standards and attention to detail, as well as the promptness with which the SOTO team has executed the work. At SOTO, we are proud to be involved closely with WSE on one of the most high-profile wave-power developments in Australia at this time.