In accordance with our mission statement, the International Renewable Agency pointed out the importance of creating synergies between the wave energy industry and other off- or onshore industries. One such industry is made up of ports and harbours.
Sea ports are essential infrastructures for development of the offshore industries and highly required for support the installation, operation and maintenance of wave energy industry;
Sea ports are experiencing a progressive growth in activity and, consequently, in their energy consumption and pollution.
One key element of sea ports is their breakwaters, which are designed to withstand wave action and dissipate the energy of waves moving through the entrance of the sea port, thereby creating sheltered conditions for port activities.
So what if the breakwaters could somehow capture a portion of the wave energy that is being dissipated, in order to use it for other purposes? Wouldn’t that be a great synergy, right there?
Indeed! Thus, by seeing beyond ports and the current status of wave energy, we develop SE@PORTS, a project in which we intend to demonstrate the win-win nature of combining breakwaters with WECs (Wave Energy Converters).
The main goal of SE@PORTS is to assess existing WEC’s (proven concept TRL 3) on their suitability to be integrated in port infrastructure and bring the selected concepts of WEC’s to the next TRL.
This is achieved through an innovative hybrid WEC concept specifically designed to be implemented in sea port breakwaters, in order to take advantage of their high exposure to the ocean waves. By combining the current principles to harness wave energy, the new system is able to overcome the individual limitations of each technology, while presenting a breakthrough and efficient approach to harness wave energy in sea port breakwaters.
The integration of WECs in sea port structures allows ports to respond to the high energy demand in a sustainable way, economically act as an energy player inside the community they are part of and reduce their carbon footprint.
For the most part, wave energy is still being developed independently, without pursuing cooperation opportunities with other sectors.
Se@PORTS investigates cooperation opportunities for companies and ports in order to promote the multi-use nature of space in the offshore economy.
Se@PORTS aims to integrate WECs in the most typical harbour sheltering structures, install them at different water depths and expose them to different wave and tidal regimes. By generalizing the results for other harbours and locations, we can cover the majority of port infrastructures and maximizing the impact of the project outcome.
Se@PORTS aims to bring added value to the construction or reconstruction of breakwaters by adding the purpose of energy harnesser to the initial purpose of protector.
This exploring of new uses for breakwaters is in line with the emerging trend of maintaining and exploiting existing infrastructures.