First commercial-scale composite WEC hull for CorPower Ocean

28 July 2022

Teaming up with composite machinery specialist Autonational and composite tank experts CPT Tankwell, CorPower Ocean has successfully developed its first commercial-scale wave energy convertor (WEC) hull in Viana do Castelo, Portugal. 

The composite hull was developed using a custom-built machine, installed inside an environmentally controlled work cell, and will form an integral part of CorPower Ocean’s next generation C4 WEC which was recently unveiled at a global launch event in Stockholm, Sweden.

Over the last year, process characterization work on quarter-scale models has enabled rapid iterations and continuous tuning to reach targeted quality and material properties reviewed by DNV as a certification body - paving the way for final commercial scale construction, said CorPower Ocean

Completed at the company’s Portuguese base in Viana do Castelo, it marks an important milestone in the flagship HiWave-5 Project, which will involve ocean deployment in nearby Aguçadoura.

“This has been a tremendous team effort involving our specialist composite team in Portugal and Sweden with close cooperation with our local and global supply chain partners.” said Miguel Silva, Managing Director for CorPower Ocean Portugal. “The C4 hull has been designed with a low-cost sandwich structure comprising of filament-wound composite skins for the inner and outer layer separated by a core material. This approach brings a raft of benefits including high strength, durability and impact resistance combined with light weight and buoyancy performance properties, which can withstand fatigue, slamming and impact loads. Other important features include excellent adhesion strength and chemical resistance with low water absorption.”

The hull construction has been carried out in conjunction with dry-testing of CorPower Ocean’s PTO (Power Take Off) system, using the world’s largest wave energy test rig.

In its entirety, the composite hull development work cell consists of a fully customized filament winding machine situated on a 14m-long base. This includes an automated carrying system to apply fibers onto a 9m diameter mandrel, to wind the hull layer-by-layer.

Tord Jonsson, Supply chain & Quality manager said: “Based on the R&D-cell in Viana do Castelo, future versions of such manufacturing cells can be easily integrated in port or final assembly facilities, amounting to ‘mobile factories’. This will enable composite hulls to be built rapidly on customer sites, with additive manufacturing dramatically reducing lead times, cost and carbon footprint by eliminating transportation of the finished product. Delivering wave farms to our customers, we will be moving these factory cells from site the site, to produce the hulls needed for a project, then move the cells over to the next customer site. The equipment will be packed and transported in three standard containers, taking only a few days to assemble once delivered to a new site. Our ‘mobile factory’ concept enables high local content in projects, and will play a key role in revitalizing local port communities and local supply chains.”

Working in collaboration with several utility companies, CorPower Ocean’s first commercial-scale C4 WEC will be used to form part of a larger four-system array, and one of the world’s first wave farms generating energy to the national grid.   

CorPower Ocean’s CEO Patrik Möller said the overall mission is to successfully introduce certified and warrantied WEC products to the market, making wave energy a bankable technology to attract mainstream renewable project finance and drive rapid deployment scale-up to address climate change.

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