Swansea, UK-based Marine Power Systems (MPS) has recently completed testing of its prototype pump, a key subsystem of the company's WaveSub wave energy converter (WEC).
The project has been part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government, with MPS receiving a £2 million grant in October 2015.
The pump was deployed in the pickling pond, a tidal lagoon in the heart of Pembroke Port prior to being recovered for testing. The aim of the pump testing was to determine whether any biofouling or corrosion affected the performance of the pump.
The rigorous testing was conducted by Severn Subsea Technologies (SST), a specialist in the field of subsea marine renewable energy. SST conducted a series of tests to ascertain its performance, including measuring flow rates pre- and post-deployment at sea.
A critical aspect of the prototype pump testing procedure was to investigate whether the pump could maintain the required flow rates in operation at sea. This is imperative to ensure the safety and reliability of MPS' WaveSub device, which is due for deployment this year.
MPS' WaveSub will provide a reliable renewable energy source through harnessing the energy from ocean waves. The technology being developed at MPS has huge potential to contribute to energy security targets across the EU (and globally) and will reduce reliance on unpredictable and non-renewable energy supplies.
"We are reaching some exciting and important milestones as we work towards completing all the necessary procedures required to ensure the successful deployment of the WaveSub device," said Dr Gareth Stockman, co-founder and managing director of Marine Power Systems. "We are pleased with the positive results from recovering the pump prototype and are optimistic about upcoming testing processes we will carry out ahead of deployment of our quarter-scale WaveSub device."
Natalie Britton, director of operations and commercial at Pembroke Port, added:
"We are confident that the cluster of engineering skills, combined with excellent port facilities and an unrivalled marine environment off the Pembrokeshire coast, makes Pembroke Port the ideal location for the developing marine renewable sector.
"Pembroke Port is a hub where everything from design and testing to manufacture and ongoing maintenance can be carried out, all within close proximity. It is a centre of excellence. In this case, Pembroke Port's historic pickling pond offered a completely sheltered, secure marine environment for MPS to test components at variable water depth. It's been great to be able to help Marine Power Systems add value and confidence to its innovative design."