A new, ground-breaking mooring, anchoring and quick connect solution optimized for marine energy systems is set for Atlantic sea trials, following a range of laboratory and on-land test campaigns currently underway.
Courtesy of CorPower
The €3.7million UMACK (Universal Mooring, Anchor & Connectivity Kit) Project has developed a unique mooring and anchoring solution aimed at superseding widely used ‘gravity-based’ anchor solutions – reducing CAPEX, installation and O&M (Operational & Maintenance) costs by more than 50%.
The UMACK solution also addresses fundamental challenges to improve the reliable operation of ocean energy devices in the harshest ocean conditions.
UMACK Project Manager and CorPower Ocean Head of Projects Matt Dickson said the innovative technology is being developed as a universal and adaptable solution for a broad range of marine energy applications and seabed types. UMACK presents a step change in technology for the ocean energy space addressing the affordability, durability and reliability of marine power systems mooring and anchoring.
On-land anchor testing is currently underway at the world-renowned Fraunhofer Institute for Wind Energy System (IWES) in cooperation with the Test Centre for Support Structures (TTH) of the Leibniz University of Hannover.
The UMACK project will finish by demonstrating the UMACK solution integrated with CorPower Ocean’s C4 Wave Energy Converter (WEC) in real ocean operating conditions. The company’s full scale WEC demonstration programme HiWave-5 runs in parallel with the UMACK project, with the first full-scale system scheduled for ocean deployment towards the end of 2021. CorPower’s WECs take the form of heaving buoys which float on the water surface absorbing energy from ocean waves, while connected to the sea floor via the UMACK system.
UMACK’s new quick-connect solution is fully surface operated removing the need for dive support and streamlining marine operations and vessel requirements. It further eases the installation and retrieval of marine energy devices while maximising operational windows.
The UMACK Project is led by a European consortium including geotechnical specialist Ternan Energy, wave and tidal energy developers CorPower Ocean and Sustainable Marine Energy Limited, mooring experts TTI Marine Renewables, EMEC (European Marine Energy Centre) and marine renewable energy modelling experts from the University of Edinburgh.
“This project collaboration has reimagined the traditional mooring and anchoring process,” said Dickson. “The consortium has worked intensively for several years taking the UMACK concept from the drawing board, through multiple design, development and test phases, to construction, subsystem testing and now the upcoming open ocean testing towards the end of 2021. The forthcoming open ocean trials mark a tremendously exciting period, and an important stage in a long and rigorous validation process.”
EMEC Technical Manager Elaine Buck added, “The UMACK system offers a truly novel approach to marine energy development aiming to significantly de-risk the overall project and bring best practice to the industry. It is hugely positive to see this form of collaboration between leaders in the marine renewables sphere, while a broader user-group involving additional wave and tidal developers is being afforded full access to the results, ensuring sector-wide impact from the project.”
UMACK is funded by Scottish Enterprise and the Swedish Energy Agency with co-funding from the OCEANERA-NET COFUND (via the European Commission under Horizon 2020).