A wave energy converter from CorPower Ocean (CorPower Ocean image)

The Future of Wave Energy in Portugal

The current situation of the wave energy converter in Viana do Castelo, Portugal, is promising and represents a significant advance in the search for renewable and sustainable energy sources. The project, led by technology company CorPower Ocean, is ongoing and has shown notable progress in advancing renewable energy.

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Design of wave and tidal energy converters

The HiWave-5 project, from Corpower Ocean, started in 2012, involves a substantial investment of 52 million euros and aims to commercialize the first wave and tidal energy converters produced in the region.

The expectation is that mass production will begin in 2024/2025, after the completion of project phases focused on proving the technology and making it marketable.

Furthermore, CorPower Ocean is investing 16 million euros in the construction of a Research and Development (R&D) center in the sea port of Viana do Castelo.

This center will not only develop and produce all necessary components for the equipment, but will also centralize all related maritime operations such as placement, maintenance, observation and data collection.

In terms of results, the first full-scale CorPower C4 equipment, capable of producing 300 kilowatts of energy, was launched at the port of Viana do Castelo and towed to Aguçadoura, 4 km off the Portuguese coast, in August 2023.

All key aspects of the Corpower C4 functions have been successfully verified, including power export to the grid, automated control and system monitoring, as well as safe operation and maintenance (O&M) methods.

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It is planned to install three more pieces of equipment in the same area, with the aim of exceeding the target of 1.2 megawatts of generated energy.

Image 1. A CorPower Ocean wave energy converter (CorPower Ocean image)
Image 1. A CorPower Ocean wave energy converter (CorPower Ocean image)

This venture not only highlights Portugal's commitment to renewable energy, but also reinforces the country's position as an innovative leader in the renewable energy sector.

The community funding of 7,3 million euros, granted by NORTE 2020 (Portugal 2020) is a testimony to the potential of this project and the European Union's support for initiatives that promote a greener economy.

The success of this project could pave the way for a new era of harnessing wave energy, contributing to the diversification of renewable energy sources and environmental sustainability.

With ocean energy, a practically unexplored source, its effective profitability could represent an important milestone in the global energy transition.

How it works

Wave energy converters are innovative devices that transform the kinetic energy of sea waves into electricity, representing a renewable and sustainable energy source.

This process involves capturing the movement of waves, which is converted into mechanical energy and, subsequently, into electrical energy.

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Image. 2 What are renewable energies, with wave energy from CorPower Ocean (CorPower Ocean image)
Image. 2 What are renewable energies, with wave energy from CorPower Ocean (CorPower Ocean image)

There are different types of wave energy converters, but they all follow one basic principle: when waves move toward the shore, they interact with the converters, causing them to move vertically or horizontally.

This movement is then captured by converters and transformed into mechanical energy.

The mechanical energy generated is converted into electrical energy through a transmission system, which generally includes wind or hydraulic generators coupled to converters.

These generators are responsible for transforming mechanical energy into electricity, which can be used immediately or stored for future use.

One of the challenges of wave energy is its intermittent nature, as it depends on the presence and strength of waves to generate electricity.

Therefore, it is crucial to choose locations with favorable wave conditions to install the converters.

Furthermore, the costs associated with installing and maintaining these devices are considerable and the technology is still in the development and improvement phase.

Image. 3 Renewable energy sources, wave energy converters from CorPower Ocean (image CorPower Ocean)
Image. 3 Renewable energy sources, wave energy converters from CorPower Ocean (image CorPower Ocean)

Despite these challenges, wave energy offers significant advantages, such as being a renewable source and having a reduced environmental impact.

Wave energy converters do not emit greenhouse gases and have a minimal visual impact and can be installed at a considerable distance from the coast to preserve the marine ecosystem.

Wave energy holds promise for the future of green ocean energy, with the potential to significantly contribute to the global energy transition and environmental sustainability.

As technology evolves and costs decrease, we are likely to see an increase in adoption of this way of obtaining clean, abundant energy.

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