European grant for wave energy project in Spain

The European Commission has assigned a EUR 4.5 million grant to an international consortium established for the construction of a facility in Spain using American PowerBuoy OPT (Ocean Power Technology) wave energy technology.

Other companies participating in the consortium, besides OPT, are Portuguese-based Wave Energy Center, Norwegian-based Fugro Oceanor, Spanish De Gima and British-based Intelligent Systems Research Institute and University of Exeter.

The project, whose capacity is still unknown, will be constructed off Santoña, Spain, where OPT has already worked on a similar project in partnership with the Spanish company Iberdrola.

PowerBuoy generators consist of a large donut-shaped buoy, anchored to the sea bottom by a pylon located in the centre of the buoy. Energy is produced by the motion of the waves, which vertically jostles the buoy on the pylon, moving two hydraulic pumps that activate the electrical generator placed inside the pylon.

Currently available PowerBuoy are 14 metres wide and 45 metres long, each having a capacity of 150 kW, that can be increased to several MW by installing them in arrays.