Engineering company Trelleborg’s engineered products operation has supplied a bespoke, flexible rubber membrane to WETFEET, a €3.46m research and development project.
Funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 programme, the WETFEET project, which brought together 12 partners spanning six EU countries, aims to address several major constraints that have delayed the sector’s progress to date and develop innovative technology solutions for use in wave energy devices.
José Cândido, head of economy and industry at WavEC Offshore Renewables, the company leading the project, said: “In recent years, wave energy research has revealed a number of challenges such as the reliability of technical components, high development costs and risks, as well as industrial scalability of proposed and tested technologies.
“WETFEET was set up to address these issues and pull together a team focused on developing viable components, systems and processes to help fulfil wave energy’s potential.”
The project has seen the development of a set of breakthrough technology solutions integrated into two wave energy converters, a floating oscillating water column and Symphony, a variable-volume submerged point-absorber.
Jacco Vonk, marketing and business development manager for Trelleborg’s engineered products operation, says: “We have developed a bespoke flexible rubber membrane for Symphony to drive forward innovation in the wave power category.
“Our polymer membrane technology ensures that the membrane not only acts as a seal to protect internal components from external water pressure, but as a bearing to prevent the hull and compensation tank from colliding. Both of which ensure a best-in-class submerged pressure differential device in a smaller geometry, helping to reduce concerns around the cost of Symphony’s development.”