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Surrounded by metal at MultiMetaal witnessing Symphony Wave Power under construction

Bijgewerkt op: 8 nov. 2023

Text by Peter Scheijgrond, Bluespring

Photos by Sia Windig, Bluespring

On October 27th, EWA organized an official site visit as part of Ocean Energy Europe 2023 to explore cutting-edge technology developers in the North of Holland. Our first destination was MultiMetaal in Den Helder, where the novel Symphony Wave Power (SWP) is under construction. We got treated to a unique preview of the components ready for assembly.

Components of he full-scale demonstrator for the Symphony Wave prototype. Photography Sia Windig (Offshore For Sure)

The intricate weave of Symphony Wave Power

SWP is the brainchild of Fred Gardner, who previously invented and built the Archemis Wave Swing, deployed off the coast of Portugal. The concept was sold off to the Shell-funded entity in Scotland AWS Ocean Energy, and is still being advanced today. Inventor Fred could not sit still and changed some fundamental parts and invented an improved system: Symphony Wave Power was born.

Upon arrival, we are welcomed by Fred and his colleague Luc Hamilton in the canteen of MutliMetaal, just before the workers have their lunch break. We also meet the CEO of MultiMetaal, Pim Hulsebos, who is also an investor in SWP.

Harnessing energy from the rhythmic movement of waves

Fred Gardner explains with passion the working principles of his latest invention. SWP is a wave energy that operates on the seabed, entirely submerged, he explains. Harnessing energy from the rhythmic movement of waves, the system employs a linear pumping motion. As waves pass, water is compressed within a cylinder hull. This hull, connected to a core by a flexible membrane, holds the so-called spring chamber. The pumping motion of the hull reaches an optimum once in resonance with the waves. The water's compression in the spring chamber drives a hydraulic turbine, which, in turn, drives a generator. The ingenious interplay of these components exemplifies the innovative approach of Symphony Wave Power, positioning it as a pioneer in wave energy conversion.

Inside the main hall

Inside MultiMetaal's main hall, welding curtains surround bustling activity. Specializing in refurbishing piping and valves for offshore oil and gas platforms, this family business meticulously renovates or re-manufactures worn-out components to their original specifications. MultiMetaal excels in making things to the highest standards, so the parts operate reliably in tough offshore conditions. This talent comes in pretty handy when developing a wave energy converter.

Inside the main hall, we see the impressive test rig of SWP power take-off system. This part was financed through the Interreg-funded ENCORE project, initiated by Peter Scheijgrond of Bluespring. The test rig was first tested in Sines, Portugal, before undergoing some refinements at MultiMetaal.

Core and hull outside

Outdoors we examined the steel tubular sections that make up the core and hull. Fred explained how the membrane intricately connects the hull to the core. It became clear that once assembled, the tower would ascend approximately 15 meters into the air. Given its size, the final testing is scheduled to take place outdoors since it doesn't quite fit within the confines of the main hall.

Teamwork is key

Fred emphasized the significance of teamwork in his narrative. Achieving more together lies at the core of our efforts, as evidenced today with the many participants on this bus tour actively engaged in shaping the future. Among them were attendees from the recently launched Interreg-funded Offshore For Sure project, which aims to unite technology developers, knowledge partners, and NGOs. In the end, the energy transition is a collective human endeavor. Together, we present the complete picture on a national, European, and international scale.

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