Thursday, December 12th, 2019

New approach boosts drive for wave power

Published on February 11, 2016 by   ·   No Comments


Commercial wave energy is just around the corner and it’s serious business.  Engineers at Australian company, Carnegie Wave Energy, have figured out a way to harness the power of the sea in a commercially viable manner.  In late 2015, their flagship project, the Perth Wave Energy Project, became the world’s only currently operating wave farm utilising Carnegie’s CETO technology.

Harnessing the power of waves to generate clean, cheap renewable energy is potentially world changing.  Unlike solar and wind power it’s not dependent on the vagaries of the weather and can be installed close to population centres with little environmental impact.

The principle behind CETO, which is named after a Greek ocean goddess, is fairly simple.  The CETO units are fully submerged buoys, called buoyant actuators that are tethered to a pump on the seafloor and float 1-2 metres under the sea surface.  The buoys move in the ocean swell pulling on the flexible tether and converting the kinetic energy of the waves to hydraulic energy via the seafloor-mounted pumps.  The pressurised liquid produced by the pumps is then delivered ashore by a subsea pipeline and used to power generators.


The buoys currently being used are the fifth iteration, CETO 5, these buoys are 11 metres in diameter and generate up to 240 kW of zero-emission electricity per unit.  Carnegie is currently working on the next generation of buoyant actuators, unsurprisingly named CETO 6, which will have an increased power output of 1 MW per buoy.  The CETO 6 will also be an autonomous unit, with the ability to generate electricity within the buoyant activator and deliver it back to shore.

Although the Company says they have been working on the technology for over a decade, the patent for CETO was only applied for in 2011 and subsequently granted in November 2015.  While they were waiting for it to be ratified, Carnegie Wave Energy didn’t sit around twiddling their thumbs, the final designs were produced using advanced computational simulations, then tested in wave tanks, before 1/3 scale testing, and finally deployed commercially in 2014.


The Company’s flagship is the Perth Wave Energy Project, which is located 3km offshore of Garden Island in Western Australia.  The project consists of an array of three CETO 5 units that were installed in 2014/2015 to provide power to Australia’s largest naval base HMAS Stirling.  In addition to electricity, the units are also capable of providing fresh water by means of a desalination plant.

This is interesting technology and the world has started to sit up and take notice.

In 2014, Carnegie’s UK arm, CETO Wave Energy UK, agreed that they would trial their technology in Cornwall at the “Wave Hub” which is a giant offshore socket connected to the power grid by an underwater cable.  The Wave Hub is located 10 miles (16km) off Hayle.

In August 2015, CETO were awarded a £2m grant by Wave Energy Scotland for the development of a wave energy power conversion system “WavePOD”.  They have also been granted an Investigative Foreshore Licence just off County Clare that will allow Carnegie to start planning offshore wave power for the Republic of Ireland.

Carnegie Wave Energy is a publicly listed company that has raised serious money over the last five years to finance its technology.  In the latest round of funding it received 20 million AUD from the Commonwealth Bank of Australia to finance the next stage of its CETO 6 project off Garden Island in Western Australia.

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