CorPower Ocean has completed the first steps of the commissioning program for its commercial-scale wave energy converter – the CorPower C4 – enabling the device to start exporting power to the Portugal’s grid.
After the first seven weeks of operation off the coast of Aguçadoura in northern Portugal, the main steps of the commissioning program for the CorPower C4 device have now been completed, verifying that the machine functions are operating as specified.
All operational modes, including storm survivability, derated and tuned production modes as well as maintenance modes have been successfully tested, according to CorPower Ocean.
In addition, the CorPower C4 device has shown its capacity to make autonomous decisions transitioning between different machine states according to ocean conditions, which are monitored by onboard sensors and control systems.
In the coming period, CorPower Ocean’s team will focus on ramping up the machine’s motion and power capture as focus shifts towards power performance tuning, while monitoring safe operation in storm conditions.
Jonny Meason, CorPower Ocean’s chief engineer, said: “We have been making steady progress after the installation in August, with initial focus on machine safety and survivability, to ensure robust operation in any kind of weather.
“Safety critical control and sensing functions have been successfully verified with the CorPower C4 enduring waves up to six meters.
“Power export to the Portuguese grid began on the same day as the required permit was received from authorities. After verifying power generation in tuned operation with limited motion envelopes, work to gradually allow the device to make increasingly larger motions and thereby capture more energy has been initiated. We look forward to providing further progress reports in due course.”
The ‘WaveSpring’ phase control innovation
A key innovation which CorPower Ocean has brought to wave energy is its ‘WaveSpring’ phase control technology.
When activated on the CorPower C4 device, the novel feature has been verified to significantly amplify the device motion, allowing it to make larger movements than the incoming wave height, which increases the power capture.
Remote monitoring and control have been performed from CorPower Ocean’s control center, where the wave energy device has initially been monitored 24/7.
Surveillance is gradually being reduced to periodic check-ins as the commissioning program is advancing, with the control system sending alarms to operators in case of events that require attention.
The device has been powered on during the entire period since grid connection in late August. The automatic transition into uninterrupted power supply (UPS) mode – to keep critical sensing and control functions running in case of grid failure or intended isolation from the on-land substation – has also been successfully verified.
Furthermore, methods for manned offshore O&M access have been tested and reviewed with third party safety reviewers, with CorPower Ocean’s technicians subsequently accessing the machine to perform internal inspections, according to the company.
Jean-Michel Chauvet, director of integration & testing for CorPower Ocean, said: “With the device operating successfully for more than seven weeks now, we are planning for a first disconnection in the near future, with tow-back to the nearby Port of Viana do Castelo for on-land check-up. After completion of this first on-land O&M cycle, the device will be towed back and re-connected to the site.
“Demonstrating efficient O&M supported by our modular approach to utility scale wave farms is a key goal of the CorPower C4 deployment program. The first disconnection and tow-back to port will be reviewed by Marine Warranty Surveyors who will ensure the work is performed to approved method statements, which is a requirement for wave farm insurability.”
The deployment of CorPower C4 device is being conducted as part of the HiWave-5 project.
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