Gibraltar Launches Europe’s first grid connected wave energy array

2 June, 2016

Europe’s first operational wave energy plant was developed by Israeli Eco Wave Power. The plant is to be expanded from 100KW to 1-5MW in the near future

Europe’s first operational wave energy plant was developed by Israeli Eco Wave Power. The plant is to be expanded from 100KW to 1-5MW in the near future

Europe's first wave energy array
Europe’s first wave energy array

British exclave Gibraltar officially inaugurated Europe’s first and only grid connected wave energy array. The installation was developed by Israeli Eco Wave Power using its innovative power floater technology. Gibraltar’s Chief Minister R. Picado expressed his satisfaction to be the first European territory, the first jurisdiction, and the first nation in Europe to have wave energy harnessed and connected to its electricity grid”. The array launched today currently supplies 100KW, but its expansion to 1-5MW is already in planning.

As a special member of the European community (Gibraltar is a British territory), Gibraltar is bound by the European energy directive, setting binding target of 20% final energy consumption from renewable sources by 2020. The expansion of the wave power array will provide 15% of Gibraltar’s power consumption, moving it close to fulfillment of its European commitments.

The production of wave energy has many advantages – it is clean and renewable, requiring very little land space (a sparse commodity in many small and populated countries), but it also poses many problems such as high construction costs, corrosion, severe weather conditions and pollution and the irregularity of wave motions. Israeli Eco Wave Power technology tackles some of the main obstacles that hinder the spread of wave power as a popular renewable energy source.

Riding the waves

Eco Wave Power's "wave clapper"
Eco Wave Power’s “wave clapper”

Eco Wave Power developed uniquely shaped buoys, “The Wave Clapper” and the “Power Wing” that rise and fall with the up and down motion, lifting force, change of water level, hydraulic air lock, and incident flux of waves. These buoys are equipped with sensors which continuously monitor the performance of the various subsystems and surrounding ocean environment. As a result, Data is transmitted to shore in real time.

In the event of upcoming storms, the system automatically “recognizes” the type of waves, and independently “decides” whether to raise the buoys over the water level, or to create a process of buoy submersion into the ocean, in order to protect the system from mechanical injuries. When the see’s calm, the system unlocks and resumes normal operations.

One of Eco Wave Power’s main advantages is that the floats can be attached to any robust type of structure such as breakwaters, peers, poles and even floating platforms. This means that exiting structures can be “converted” into clean power plants. According to Eco Wave Power, a large scale commercial size sea wave power plants, the waves will enable the lifting of up to 100 floats in turn. This will enable a continuous energy production and a smooth output.

Eco Wave power was founded Panama Resident David Leb and Israeli Inna Braverman. The company develops, produces and deploys its unique products, specifically designed for each location. It has tested its technology in Israel and the Ukraine, but the Gibraltar plant the first operational installation yet.

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Posted in: Energy & Environment , News