The announcement for the location of the test zone for SBM Offshore’s wave energy converter took place at a joint press conference in the Principality of Monaco.
The WEC S3®, technology will be tested for the first time in the sea, offshore Monaco, within sight of SBM Offshore’s engineering offices where the company’s Renewable Energy team is located and within a stone’s throw of the Carros-based laboratory where the manufacturing process for the WEC S3® prototype is in progress.
Speaking at the event to announce the one-year test from 2021 in its waters was Marie-Pierre Gramaglia, Government Counselor-Minister of Equipment, Environment and Urbanism, “If we are alongside SBM Offshore for this world premiere, it is because the Principality, under the leadership of its Sovereigns, has long been a land of innovation. It is in this spirit that the State Services have mobilized to support the SBM Offshore teams for this experiment and make it possible in the Principality“.
Didier Beynet, SBM Offshore Monaco Country Director also addressed the press “While continuous R&D basin tests have validated the feasibility of our wave energy technology, the step towards industrialization requires a prototype to be tested at sea, which will be connected to the electricity grid. We extend our sincere appreciation to the Monaco government for facilitating this significant milestone, particularly given the international support for renewable energy demonstrated by the Principality under the leadership of HSH Prince Albert II.”
The step into the sea with a prototype of this type of wave energy converter is a world-first and the chosen Monaco location, represents the ideal site to test the necessary criteria in real conditions. Described in simple terms, the prototype is a ‘floating rubber tube’, 60m long and 1.2m in diameter, which will be submerged at approximately 4m water depth. The sea footprint of the experimental site is approximately 300m by 80m with the anchors. The WEC S3® converts the kinetic energy from waves directly into electricity using Electro Active Polymers (EAP), which offers numerous benefits.
- WEC S3® is a project created and launched by SBM Offshore. The support of “Investissements d’Avenir” of the French State, entrusted to ADEME has facilitated SBM Offshore in this next step to put a prototype in the open sea.
- Since 2009, SBM has been developing this new generation of breakthrough Wave Energy Converter, the S3®, which addresses the limitations identified in Generation 1 Wave Energy devices. SBM Offshore diversified into renewable energies 13 years ago (focusing on wind and wave energy technology) and continues to support the world energy transition with a more dominant role for gas and renewables in the future.
- While the WEC S3® has undergone significant basins tests over the past years in its development, based on the simulation of wave action, the sea trials from 2021 will facilitate the next step in industrialization of the technology.
- The sea trial will test the system in real conditions to assess the system behavior, material ageing and power conversion systems, as well as allowing optimal integration in the marine life environment. At the same time, the prototype will deliver the first kWhs to the grid.