Since autumn 2009, Open_Sailing is working in collaboration on the flexible Wave Energy Converter research team at Southampton University, UK. Original invention of R. Rainey, F. Farley, under the supervision of J. Chaplin, V. Heller, J. Spurell. We are integrating this research in the making of a version of Energy_Animal. See the prototype in action.
Testing a 3.5m latex flexible marine energy converter at the towing tank, University of Southampton, UK.
Testing a 50m long flexible marine energy converter in Selsey, UK.
The system essentially consists of a rubber tube filled with water which is placed in the sea. Both ends of this rubber tube are sealed and it is anchored with its head to the waves. It is squeezed or enlarged locally by waves causing pressure variations along its length.
A running bulge wave is generated by squeezing the water-filled rubber tube. The bulge wave travels at a speed that is determined by the geometry and material properties of the tube. The flexible marine energy converter is designed so that its bulge wave speed is close to the speed of the external water waves above. In this resonance condition the bulges grow as they travel along the tube, gathering wave energy. Inside the tube, the bulge waves are accompanied by a periodically reversing flow. Localised squeezing and enlarging effects permit energy to be extracted indirectly with a Power Take-Off (PTO).
One way of extracting power from the flexible marine energy converter is to use a pair of duck-bill valves to convert this power into a rectified flow past a turbine between high and low pressure reservoirs.
See our experiments and prototypes.