Chalmers Researcher Facilitates Progress of Wave Power Industry

​With 72% of the earth’s surface covered by the ocean, wave energy, thus, possesses a significant potential to gratify a substantial percentage of the global energy supply. The task is to decrease costs and enhance the wave energy system’s performance. In that case, the Chalmers scientist Shun-Han Yang has aided the industry to optimize their positions.

(Shun-Han Yang. Image credit: Chalmers University of Technology)

Shun-Han Yang is a scientist at the Department of Mechanics and Maritime Sciences at the Division of Marine Technology. She has created a numerical analysis method that can be used for evaluating the long-term structural service life of the components incorporated into wave energy systems.

The procedure allows the industry to assess the damage the waves impose mooring devices and power cables, etc. while calculating the wave power system’s power performance and energy cost.

Shun-Han Yang, Department of Mechanics and Maritime Sciences, Division of Marine Technology, Chalmers University of Technology.

The formulated methodology has aided the industry and driven them from a stage of concept design substantiation to a full-scale prototype testing at sea. In technical jargon, from at TRL-level* of 3-4 to a TRL-level of 6-7. By using the numerical technique, the possible structural failure or operation hindrances are recognized, which would otherwise be devastating if the situation was bumped into in the real world.

Jonas Kamf is CEO of Waves4Power, one of the industrial associates that Chalmers partners with. He states that Waves4Power is a company under progress with limited resources and thus a strong partner network becomes a critical resource. He views Chalmers as an additional important partner for their business.

It's a lot of idea development but also verification of results from our test activities. Real results are set against theoretical calculations and in this way, we can link theory and reality in order to get even closer to reality in our forward-looking work.

Jonas Kamf, CEO, Waves4Power.

The partnership with Chalmers in several fields also paves the way for Waves4Power to be able to apply for additional financial support for technical progress that would or else have been tough to take part in. The link between academia and industry is very crucial for this part of their development financing, he says, but maybe even more notably he sees Chalmers as a partner who can make them more convincing.

As a research resource, Chalmers is trustworthy and gives us as a collaborative partner an honest image, not a glorified picture of our reality. It’s easy to become blind in a development company and just see advantages. In this way, Chalmers is good at taking us down to earth and show us the reality as it is. It has laid a good foundation for good work in research and development.

For Chalmers, partnership is a criterion for research. Shun-Han Yang believes that the close collaboration between industry and academia is what made her research possible.

To ensure the practicality of the numerical method, constant feedback given by the industry which highlights that challenges are necessary.

Shun-Han Yang, Department of Mechanics and Maritime Sciences, Division of Marine Technology, Chalmers University of Technology.

Waves4Power anticipates that in the following two years they will be totally commercial with a couple of installed wave power parks founded on their newest technology, but it will carry on being a technology in development and Chalmers is a chief resource.

*TRL, Technology readiness levels are a method of estimating technology maturity of critical technology elements of a program during the acquisition process. They are determined during a technology readiness assessment that examines program concepts, technology requirements, and demonstrated technology capabilities.

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