UK-based Marine Power Systems (MPS) has revealed a quarter-scale prototype of its wave energy generating device, WaveSub, which has been developed with the aim of addressing major challenges regarding the generation of energy at sea.

The device is set to be towed to the FaBTest marine test site in Cornwall, England, to demonstrate its power-generation capacity in a broad range of sea environments.

The test is also expected to determine the device’s installation speed and price, as well as maintenance costs and survivability during the harshest weather conditions.

WaveSub has been developed over a nine-year period via an investment of more than £5m from a combination of private investment and competitive grants.

The device was manufactured and assembled at MPS’ site in Wales, UK, and is designed to operate by capturing wave energy approximately 10km from the shore.

It leverages the continual orbital motion of waves to drive an improved power-take-off (PTO) system and can transfer its resulting output to land using an undersea cable.

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The full-scale, 100m-long WaveSub system will feature a power rating of 5MW and will be able to power roughly 5,000 homes, which is comparable to the energy produced by a very large offshore wind turbine.

The device is equipped with depth-adjustable capability to ‘hide’ from storms in order to reduce the amount of stress put on the device, as well as maintain an optimum energy generation capacity in various sea environments.

“The WaveSub can bring down the cost of wave power generation so that in time it can compete favourably with offshore wind in terms of energy generation costs.”

MPS CEO Dr Gareth Stockman said: “With nearly a decade of research and development invested in the WaveSub, we are now at a point where an affordable, scalable and reliable wave energy device is within our reach.

“With continued government support and private investment, the WaveSub can bring down the cost of wave power generation so that in time it can compete favourably with offshore wind in terms of energy generation costs.”

In addition, MPS is launching an investment opportunity to enable the company to move towards the final stages of development of WaveSub and the testing of a full-scale multi-MW version of the device.

The company aims to begin the installation of the system to a grid-connected wave farm by 2020.