PRACE SHAPE and Albatern: Producing power from waves

Success story Albatern-Schematic

Albatern’s wave power generation product consists of buoyant Squid modules which have three arms and are capable of linking with up-to three other Squids. The Squid modules and their link-arms contain mechanisms to generate power, capturing the heave and surge motion of the waves via hydraulics. In this way, Albatern an innovative Scottish SME of 15 engineers has developed a highly scalable, modular wave power generator. Albatern’s project supported by PRACE SHAPE marked the start of the development of a physics code capable of simulating and predicting the power of a large scale Wavenet array (100 or more devices).

Wave energy prototypes are large, expensive and funded through risk capital. As a result prototype simulation also forms an essential part of the device design process. To progress beyond the limitations of current, commercially available software, it was proposed to construct a new, modular solver capable of capturing the behaviour of large scale Wavenet arrays. Through their SHAPE Project Albatern has prototyped with the support of PRACE experts a parallel multibody dynamics solver based on computational methods used in computer graphics and gaming, using the PETSc open source numerical library and scaled out on a CRAY XC30 at EPCC.

Simulations demonstrating the potential cost and performance improvements gained through deploying extremely large, coupled wave energy arrays will be a breakthrough for the industry. The PRACE project has helped Albatern develop in house software that will directly aid expanding the scope of their simulation capability. Albatern is now in a position to write a multibody dynamics code that will share common parts of the simulation procedure allowing interchange of either the simultaneous or sequential methods.

Dr. William Edwards of Albatern.

A WaveNET array of three Squid devices © Albatern

A WaveNET array of three Squid devices © Albatern

Since the start of this SHAPE project, Albatern have deployed their first power generating array off the Island of Muck, on the West Coast of Scotland. The array for a total capacity of 22kW, comprised of three squid devices, will supply a fish farm with electrical power for running lighting and feeding equipment.

Project details

Leader:  Dr. William Edwards, Albatern, United Kingdom

Collaborators: Mr. David Finley, Albatern, United Kingdom, Dr. David Scott, EPCC, United Kingdom, Mr. Paul Graham, EPCC, United Kingdom

Research field: Engineering and Energy

Resource awarded: Albatern accessed the CRAY XC30 ARCHER at EPCC, United Kingdom

About Albatern

Albatern is a wave energy technology company based in Edinburgh, United Kingdom, and develops novel interconnected offshore marine renewable energy devices.

WaveNET is a radical new solution to the problem of economically viable wave energy harvesting. In contrast to the majority of existing approaches, WaveNET is designed to exploit the interactions between absorbers within a coupled, modular and scalable three-dimensional structure that offers a step change technology with more efficient operation at lower cost.


This article was first published on on Wednesday 19 November 2014.

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