IMAGINE “Innovative Method for Affordable Generation IN ocean Energy” is a European collaborative project funded by the European Commission under the Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme.
The theoretical, global energy potential of wave energy is higher than the global electricity consumption, however there are not yet any commercial devices to exploit this resource. Cost reduction and reliability are key challenges for the wave energy sector, with the Power-Take Off (PTO) a major cost element of a typical Wave Energy Converter (WEC).
The IMAGINE project will therefore develop and demonstrate an innovative PTO concept for wave energy applications. The groundbreaking Electro-Mechanical Generator (EMG) is based on UMBRAGROUP’S advanced aerospace engineering.
The Electro-Mechanical Generator (EMG) is an innovative type of Power-Take-Off (PTO) that can be applied to most of the Wave Energy Convertors (WECs) currently available in the market. The core element of the EMG is a ballscrew. This is based around a screw, which is a mechanical component that can convert linear motion into rotary motion and vice-versa. This concept is easy to understand if we think of the screws we use, e.g. to mount a shelf on the wall at home. A cutaway schematic of the ballscrew system is shown in Figure 1 with the energy conversion chain in Figure 2.
The ballscrew is a mechanical device in which the balls, acting as low friction load-carriers, efficiently convert the low-speed linear motion of the screw into a high-speed rotary motion of the nut. The rotational speed of the nut is a function of the screw linear speed and the screw pitch (i.e. the axial distance between adjacent threads on the screw).
Permanent magnets are integrated in the nut, which acts thus as rotor of the electrical generator. The rotor, spinning inside a bespoke-designed stator, induces a voltage on the stator windings thanks to the principle of electromagnetic induction. The frequency of the induced voltage is proportional to the number of poles of the generator. The high rotational speed of the nut and generator rotor increases the induction rate and thus the overall system compactness.
Throughout the IMAGINE project, needs and solutions will be identified, and the technology developed. This will include HardWare-In-the-Loop (HWIL) testing, plus techno-economic assessment. A Technical Advisory Board has been set up to provide external guidance and will contribute to make the EMG a suitable product for the international market.
K2 Management (K2M, formerly: Cruz Atcheson)
Location: Lisbon, Portugal
Seven months after the project start, the second consortium meeting of the H2020 IMAGINE project took place on September 27, 2018 in Lisbon, Portugal, hosted by K2 Management. Representatives of all the project partners (i.e. UMBRAGROUP, K2 Management, VGA, the University of Edinburgh and the Norwegian University of Science and Technology) joined the event to review the EMG technical specifications. They discussed the EMG integrability, options for control of the Power Take-Off, as well as the EMG design and testing approach.
Donald Noble (UEDIN), Pauline Laporte-Weywada, Joshua Scrivin (K2M), Luca Castellini (UMBRA), Elisabetta Tedeschi (NTNU), Michele Martini (UMBRA), Tiago Martins (K2M), Dan El Montoya (NTNU), Mairead Atcheson (K2M), Joao Cruz (K2M), Nicolas Lariviere-Gillet (BV), Federico Gallorini (VGA).
Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU)
Location: Trondheim, Norway
After one year of cooperation under the H2020 IMAGINE project, all the consortium partners gathered in Trondheim (Norway) for the 3rd consortium meeting held at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) on March 27, 2019. During the meeting, UMBRAGROUP provided updates on the technical design specifications and the experimental prototype setup of the EMG, and, given the design specifications, K2 Management presented a structural-mechanical and fatigue load analysis of the EMG. NTNU proposed the results of a comparison of advanced control strategies to maximize the PTO power extraction. Significant focus was given to the discussion of the EMG control software implementation and further steps towards the Hardware-In-the-Loop (HIL) simulation, for which VGA presented a comparison of software platforms. Additionally, the University of Edinburgh introduced their intended approach for the techno-economic and life-cycle assessment for the EMG system.
Tiago Martins (K2M), Erick Alves (NTNU), Mairead Atcheson (K2M), Luca Castellini (UMBRAGROUP), Donald Noble (UEDIN), Joao Cruz (K2M), Elisabetta Tedeschi (NTNU), Edouard Richard (BV), Federico Gallorini (VGA), Dan EL Montoya (NTNU).
Location: Brussels, Belgium
The review meeting of the IMAGINE project took place in Brussels, Belgium, on November 21, 2019. The consortium partners provided the Project Officer, Mr. Paolo Tacconi, updates and details on the project status and discussed the planned future steps. K2 Management reported their results regarding the shortlisted WEC models and the environmental characterization of the target deployment sites. UMBRAGROUP presented the selected EMG architecture out of the candidate solutions as well as any updates on the technical design specifications. They also presented, in collaboration with Bureau Veritas, a methodology for a risk-based qualification process for the technologies included in the innovative EMG design. VGA provided updates on the experimental test bench design and fabrication procedure while NTNU discussed the implementation of the most promising developed control algorithms and their adaptation for the real time implementations. The University of Edinburgh led the discussion on the expected environmental and socio-economic and techno-economics assessments of the EMG technology.
Federico Gallorini (VGA), Edouard Richard (BV), Elisabetta Tedeschi (NTNU), Luca Castellini (UMBRAGROUP), Mairead Atcheson (K2M), Paolo Tacconi (INNEA), Joao Cruz (K2M), Leonore van Velzen (UEDIN)
European Wave and Tidal Energy Conference
Date: 1-6 September 2019
Location: Napels, Italy
The IMAGINE project partners were well-represented at the European Wave and Tidal Energy Conference (EWTEC 2019) in Naples, Italy. This conference is focused on ocean renewable energy and is respected for their high standards for academic and industrial contributions. Therefore, this event was an excellent opportunity to present the work done in the IMAGINE project. The project partners gave three presentations as part of IMAGINE:
- Progress update on the development and testing of an advanced power take-off for marine energy applications;
- Preliminary Load Assessment: UMBRAGROUP’s 250 kW EMG PTO;
- Quantification of load uncertainties in the design process of a WEC.
In addition, EWTEC provided a great occasion for the attending project partners to catch-up on the project progress.
Leonore van Velzen (UEDIN) presenting ‘Progress update on the development and testing of an advanced power take-off for marine energy applications’
Luca Castellini (UMBRAGROUP), Joao Cruz (K2M), Mairead Atcheson (K2M), Joshua Scrivin (K2M)
Recently, the first reporting period of the IMAGINE project was approved by the Project Officer at the European Commission. Below, a summary of the work done by the project partners in this first reporting period can be found.
UMBRAGROUP is the project leader of the IMAGINE project. In addition to the project management, they have finalized and selected the optimum EMG design out of several possible architectures. The production of the EMG prototype has started with the first machining operations and heat treatments of its different mechanical components. In the short future, the EMG will be tested with the HardWare-in-the-Loop simulations.
To date in the IMAGINE project, K2 Management has performed an estimation of the loading environment across relevant design load cases (DLCs) for combinations of target installation sites and Wave Energy Converter (WEC) types. The combinations allowed the creation of a detailed PTO load envelope that in turn contributed to the EMG, test bench and control system design. The simulation models developed by K2 Management will provide estimated inputs to the HardWare-in-the-Loop simulations.
VGA performed a comparison among different software platforms solutions to be used for the HardWare-In-the-Loop simulations in order to choose the most appropriate for the requirements of the IMAGINE project. This was followed by a comparison of possible experimental setups and the selection of the most promising electro-mechanical layout architecture to be used for the HardWare-In-the-Loop simulations, for which they have already been preparing the manufacturing technical drawings.
Bureau Veritas performed a study for a risk-based qualification process for the technologies included in the innovative EMG design in cooperation with UMBRAGROUP. With this methodology they could assess the risk which is embedded in the use of different types of equipment and technologies that are developed under the scope of the IMAGINE project and for which there are no dedicated standards.
Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU)
Within IMAGINE, NTNU has so far investigated several PTO control strategies and their optimized selection for power extraction/energy yield maximization. They have assessed the performance of different WECs equipped with the EMG and deployed at different sites. The group has also worked on the EMG control software in view of HardWare-In-the-Loop testing, and is currently adapting the most promising control algorithms for real time digital implementation.
University of Edinburgh
The Policy and Innovation Group at the University of Edinburgh has produced the living and evolving documents concerning data management and the plan for exploitation and dissemination of results of the IMAGINE project. The main body of work of this project partner is scheduled for the second half of the project. They are currently gearing up to perform the socio-economic, techno-economic and environmental assessments of the EMG.
Location: Foligno, Italy
The first technical workshop was held at the UMBRAGROUP facilities in Foligno on the 28th of August 2019. This workshop increased the awareness of the IMAGINE project objectives and activities, with the participation of 42 people including WEC developers, energy utilities, and research and academic institutions (among others ENI, INORE and WAVE4ENERGY). The contacts made between UMBRAGROUP and the technical workshop participants has generated new opportunities for onwards collaborative discussions. The UMBRAGROUP team will follow up on these opportunities during the progress of the project. The workshop will also have enabled the participants to be aware of the planned project outcomes and public information that will be generated, which could be of potential use in their projects and research.
Building on the experience of this first technical workshop, planning will take place for the second technical workshop. This will be tailored for the members of the industry and users including the Technical Advisory Board.
First Technical Workshop at UMBRAGROUP facilities in Foligno, Italy.
This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 764066