It hardly seems possible that a month has already passed since we deployed the Oceanus 2 to its berth at Wave Hub. The time has flown by as we have begun our progressive trials régime to prove the capabilities of the device. The headline news is very positive.
Like the waves, there have certainly been some highs and lows. After the initial euphoria of having installed the Oceanus 2 safely on site, confidence was further boosted by the discovery that the device had self-started; priming itself to working pressures from the power of the waves alone. On a less positive note, a subsequent discovery that the positional moorings had been damaged came as something of a kick in the teeth; we suspect the damage was caused by the inadvertent close passage of a vessel over the loose down-tide upper positional tethers which float on, or near, the surface. But we were ready for such eventualities and, with the assistance of local Falmouth based marine operations partners Seawide Services Ltd and Keynmor Morlift Ltd, the damage has been repaired and recurrence prevented. Such is the nature and purpose of trials.
We have now calibrated sensors, continue to experiment with optimum valve settings to maximise power output in a range of conditions and have tested the hydraulic system’s capacity to hold pressure. The generic proof of concept phase is now moving towards a period of deliberate testing to measure, evaluate, corroborate and analyse various elements of the system. First on the list are minor tweaks to the positional moorings to optimise and limit any lateral movement of the buoy over its reactive tether in the relatively strong tidal streams that run across the site.
Forthcoming access to the site is likely to be limited temporarily by ongoing work by Wave Hub Ltd but, in the meantime, there is much we can be getting on with. The Oceanus 2 works, is proving its worth and boosting our confidence as we learn more of its capabilities and potential; at full scale and in real offshore conditions. No amount of tank testing can replicate the value we have already gained from the first month of this important trial. Our mood is buoyant – which is a very, very good place to be for a Wave Energy developer.