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The Construction of Oyster – A nearshore surging Wave Energy Converter

Date: October 27, 2013 at 18:34 GMT

evelop Oyster®, a near shore flap which is hinge connected to the sea bed. With a combination of private equity and grant aid a 315kW Oyster module has been designed and manufactured. It is planned to install a prototype module at the EMEC test site in Orkney once the nearshore test berth is complete. Presently the power train is being tested and the instrumentation system calibrated. In this version of Oyster®, high pressure sea water will be pumped ashore to drive a Pelton wheel. Ultimately it is envisaged that Oyster units will be arranged in clusters feeding single onshore power take off units; which will form power stations of utility scale.
An extensive research and development programme has produced a very efficient structural form, which gives Oyster one of the highest power to weight ratios of all current technologies. This is combined with high capture factors in the most commonly occurring seas. The sea bed foundations and installation technique will enable Oyster to be easily removed and reinstalled for major maintenance when required. This is a feature normally associated with moored devices.
Although there are other bottom?hinged flap devices, Oyster is different in several ways and occupies a different part of the design space. For example, unlike the other systems it completely penetrates the water column from the water surface to the sea bed. Although it might be considered that such a system would be vulnerable in extreme seas, extensive wave tank modelling has shown that the flap intrinsically decouples from the wave as the oscillation increases and that the wave loads experienced are manageable in the three operational modes; generating, undamped and parked on the sea bed. However, model tests confirmed that Oyster can remain generating in all sea?states including plunging breakers.
This paper charts the construction of Oyster presenting some of the challenges which have led to the current design. An outline of the impending testing and sea trials of a prototype demonstration unit is given along with the projected outcomes. 

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