Local consultancy firm Tendon Consulting and Services Pvt Ltd and Australian renewable energy startup Wave Swell Energy (SWE) are to develop a USD 7 million dollar swell-to-energy pilot project in Maldives.
Addressing the press at Maagiri Hotel in capital city Male', a spokesperson for Tendon noted the company's intention to reduce electricity costs by "ten-fold" within a 5-10 year period. The company also hopes to aid the government in the divestment of fossil fuel as government expenditure on energy production remains heavily subsidized.
Ministry of Environment on October approved a six-month feasibility study for the project, in which the government agreed to provide data sets within the public sector and to issue relevant permits for the study.
The study includes wave data analysis, wave tank simulations and detailed geotechnical and bathymetric surveys, said Tendon.
According to SWE's CEO Tom Denniss, the in-water generator features an oscillating water column (OWC), an artificial blowhole consisting of a chamber below the waterline. As swell pass the OWC, water rises, forcing air to pass through a turbine at the top of the chamber, in turn generating electricity. All moving parts of the installation are situated over water and are built to last upwards of 50 years with minor maintenance requirements.
Previous OWC technologies utilized bidirectional technology to power the turbines, stated CEO Denniss. However, SWE's generator operates "unidirectionally", reducing cost, simplifying the design and resulting in a more robust product with high energy conversion efficiency.
Moreover, the unit functions as a breakwater, allowing governments to potentially integrate the generator with new development plans for cost-effective energy production.