Design – Build – Test: The Ocean Energy Philosophy
The development history of the Ocean Energy buoy is one of novel design, progressive engineering and industry based development protocols.
The technology success is the result of a rigorous and systematic approach to both R &D and engineering. The OE Buoy has undergone three full phases of scaled testing, from 1:50 scale to 1:4 scale. The rigorous testing at each phase is a testament to the scientific and engineering foundations of the project.
The current development phase is of a near-commercial scale device and then moving to the production phase and the construction of full scale devices, building on the lessons of the phased program.
Testing on the OE Buoy was carried out at the Hydraulics and Maritime Research Centre (HMRC) in University College Cork, Ireland.
This testing programme, which used a device model to a scale of 1:50, was designed to optimise the hull configuration and maximise the power output. During this phase, the device was tested in a variety of wave conditions representative of the conditions, which the OE Buoy would work in when deployed commercially.
A detailed design was produced by a team of naval architects. Testing at a scale of 1:15 was completed in the large wave basin at Ecole Central de Nantes, France.
HMRC staff were used to carry out the tests at Nantes to ensure full continuity within the development process.
During these larger scale trials more detailed information was obtained and confirmation of the predicted energy capture and device behaviour in larger sea states.
Following the successful outcome of the controlled tests in Cork and Nantes, phase 3 saw the live sea launch of the quarter scale, 28 tonne model and the successful completion of stability sea trials in Cork Harbour. This stage of testing was a necessary precursor to the deployment of the device to a live sea test site and which commenced off the west coast of Ireland. This open sea test programme confirmed the ability of the device to behave and operate stably, safely and reliably in real state sea conditions. These sea trials were planned, supervised and monitored by staff from the HMRC at University College Cork.