Italian energy company Eni has developed a dual use wave turbine that could be used to convert decommissioned oil platforms into renewable energy islands.
The first Inertial Sea Wave Energy Converter (ISWEC) trial unit has been installed at the Ravenna site, Italy’s largest gas and oil offshore facility.
On its website, Eni said the technology is currently suitable to power offshore assets, but in the future could be mounted to offshore oil rigs to transform them into renewable energy platforms.
“The technology is suitable for powering medium and large offshore assets and, in the future, will enable Eni to convert mature offshore platforms into renewable energy generation hubs,” Eni state.
The single turbine can produce 51kW of energy, larger offshore wind turbines can produce as much as ten times the electricity but require extensive marine construction.
The ISWEC is also capable of generating electricity under various sea conditions, unlike some other turbines, giving a high continuity in energy production. It is also the only wave turbine system to integrate solar panels and energy storage technology.
Using an internal gyroscope to generate an internal inertial reaction, the ISWEC is able to harvest wave power without exposing external mechanical parts to the harsh marine enviroments, making the technology very hard wearing.
By combining the wave and solar technology with energy storage, the company hopes to alleviate the inconsistency that weather-dependant renewable energy systems suffer from.
Eni are developing the technology in conjunction with the Polytechnic University of Turin, which previously tested 1:45 and 1:8 scale models of the device.
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