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NZ wave power device secures international certification

09 December 2010

A New Zealand developed and designed wave power device has been awarded Statement of Design Feasibility certification by an international certification agency, Det Norske Veritas (DNV).

The Wave Energy Technology – New Zealand (WET-NZ) consortium has been experimenting with a ¼-scale (2 kW) wave power device, which has been deployed off Christchurch since 2006. The WET-NZ consortium comprises IRL (Industrial Research Limited), and Power Projects Limited, a private Wellington-based company.

The consortium is currently developing a ½-scale (20 kW) prototype version of its device, as a result of funding received from the NZ Government’s Marine Energy Deployment Fund, which will be deployed in New Zealand waters in 2011. The design of this prototype is based on DVN certification principles.

DNV certification is a lengthy process of risk identification and mitigation. In this case it covers not only the design of the device but also ancillary equipment, such as the moorings. “The DNV Design Feasibility certification will give investors confidence in the viability of the WET-NZ design”, says Power Projects’ director, Dr. John Huckerby. “It shows we have a robust design and have thought through the issues of deployment for the device”.

IRL commercial manager Gavin Mitchell says the certification reflects well on IRL’s technical competence in what is a very new and challenging area of engineering and design.

“Due to the harsh operating environment of the ocean there are many variables to contend with in designing such a device.”

IRL energy technologist and Leader of the WET-NZ research and development team Alister Gardiner acknowledges the substantial effort involved in introducing the fault mode investigation and analysis processes at the prototype development stage, but expects that the time invested now will result in engineering benefits as the technology approaches commercialisation.

“DNV have tremendous experience in the marine engineering sector and it makes sense to tap into this as soon as possible.

“This external audit of our progress provides us with the confidence to proceed with our next tasks – to confirm the design of our ½-scale device, which will be constructed early in 2011. The design principles developed will also be built into a more advanced ¼-scale device for deployment in Oregon,” he says.

ENDS

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