126 OES Annual Report 2015 | PORTUGAL | Research & Development
Annual Report 2015
Country Reports


Ana Brito e Melo & Antonio Falcão WavEC & IST


WavEC is a private non-profit association, currently with 13 associates (industrial and public), and devoted to the development and promotion of offshore energy utilization through technical and strategic support to companies and public bodies. WavEC team is composed by 20 specialists with a broad range of experience on ocean energy, including both the technical (numerical modelling, wave resource, monitoring, technology) and non-technical (economic models, environmental and licensing, public policies, dissemination) issues.

In 2015, WavEC coordinated two European funded projects:

  • WETFEET, initiated in June 2015, funded by the EU H2020, with 3 years duration. The overall objective is to understand and find solutions to the constraints of wave energy technology. In particular, the project seeks to identify the reasons that have been delaying the sector’s progress and to propose viable solutions to improve the overall performance of new technologies. It will address issues, such as reliability of technological components, survivability capacity of the devices, high development costs, long process for commercialization, as well as industrial scalability of tested technologies.
  • OCEANET started in 2013 and will be concluded in 2016. It is a training network of young researchers in the area of floating offshore wind and wave energy (Funded by the EC 7th Framework Programme). 

WavEC has been further collaborating with a number of European R&D consortiums, including:

  • RICORE (2015 - 2016), dealing with consenting processes on marine renewable energy projects and aiming to establish a risk-based approach to consenting processes (funded by H2020).
  • DTOCEAN (2013 - 2016), providing shared access design tools for wave and tidal energy converter arrays (funded by the EC 7th Framework Programme).
  • PolyWEC (2012 - 2016), dealing with a new class of polymeric wave energy converters (PolyWECs), employing Electroactive Elastomer (EE) transducers (funded by the EC 7th Framework Programme).
  • HiWave (2013 - 2016) focused on the development of wave energy technology by the Swedish company Corpower, including tests at sea (funded by KIC InnoEnergy, a company funded by the EC European Institute of Technology (EIT), devoted to developing innovative industrial products).

WavEC is a founding member of the European Ocean Energy Association (OEE), and associate member of the European Energy Research Alliance.

Two groups have been active on ocean energy at Instituto Superior Técnico (IST), University of Lisbon:

  • Institute of Mechanical Engineering (IDMEC) with a decades-long history in wave energy conversion studies;
  • Centre for Marine Technology and Engineering (CENTEC) whose involvement in ocean energy is more recent.

Following previous years, the activity at IDMEC has concentrated on wave energy conversion, especially the development of new types of oscillating water column (OWC) converters and self-rectifying air turbines. Laboratory tests of moorings with imposed motion of the moored body have been performed to validate numerical codes. Small scale model tests of a patented new concept for a floating OWC have been performed at IST, in collaboration with LNEG, Lisbon. An important area of research at IDMEC is latching control of floating and fixed-structure OWC converters, taking advantage of the new types of air turbines fitted with fast valves; this included numerical modelling and a hardware-inthe- loop testing at Tecnalia test rig (in Bilbao, Spain) within the framework of the FP7-MARINET programme.

IDMEC/IST is a partner in the WETFEET project (European H2020 programme); their involvement concerns mainly the experimental development of a high-efficiency twin-rotor self-rectifying air turbine, and the development of new concepts for floating OWCs. Modelling and optimization, combining CFD and model testing of the recently patented twin-rotor self-rectifying air turbine have been performed, in collaboration with the Universities of Valladolid and Oviedo (Spain). The results, published in the journal Energy, indicated a peak efficiency about 86%. 

Ocean energy is becoming a major area in the diversified activity of CENTEC. The activities at CENTEC in ocean energy involved a wide range of topics covering waves, Tidal currents and offshore wind. The characterization, in European waters (Iberian Peninsula, Galway Bay), of wave energy (and to a much lesser extent tidal and offshore wind energies) has been one of the dominant topics. The study of ocean energy conversion focused mainly on wave energy converters, with numerical theoretical/modelling of several types of devices, and PTOs (namely dual-chamber OWCs and hydrauliccircuit PTOs).

Since 2013, IST has been involved in the EUREC master course in Renewable Energy, offering a onesemester specialization in ocean energy. This took place in February to May 2015.