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Firms team up to optimise wave energy technology

new-roughCornwall-based Orecon has signed a memorandum of understanding with Dresser-Rand Company, which has offices in Peterborough and the US, to to optimise the chamber and turbine design for a multi-resonant chamber (MRC) wave energy conversion device.

Orecon’s MRC device combines oscillating water column (OWC) technology with Dresser-Rand’s HydroAir™ bidirectional air impulse turbine technology. The OWC is the most successful and extensively studied device for extracting energy from ocean waves.

The device works as approaching waves force the free water surface in the chamber to move up and down, which causes an oscillation of the air pressure inside the chamber. This forces the air backwards and forwards through an air turbine installed in a duct connecting the chamber to the atmosphere. The turbine converts this air movement into electrical energy by the direct coupling of the generator.

The simplicity of OWC technology — that is, the fact it has only one moving part — has made it a favoured solution for wave energy conversion applications. However, the OWC’s major weakness has been its low efficiency. Orecon has made a technological breakthrough with the MRC by combining multiple chambers to increase the bandwidth of energy capture and Dresser-Rand’s highly efficient impulse turbine.

By working together, the companies aim provide total OWC-based technologies backed by Dresser-Rand’s global service network. Together, they hope to build as a high level of confidence in the emerging wave energy market as is today found in long-established markets such as oil and gas.

The new technology collaboration also marks a new phase in Dresser-Rand’s long-term commitment to deepwater offshore, shoreline and breakwater projects.

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