SANTIAGO BLANES CABANES
U. ANTONIO DE NEBRIJA
The goal of the Wave Power Project El Alamein is to test a new concept to generate electricity from the motions of sea waves under realistic circumstances and over a longer period of time. The research area is situated on the north coast of Egypt, about 60 miles (100 km) west of Alexandria.
The conceptis based on a system of unique piston driven generators. A so-called linear generator is standing protected on the seabed and is driven, via a rope, by a buoy on the surface. Several generators can be combined into groups, some 20-100 m beneath the surface and can further be combined into groups using standard cables on the seabed. With the help of power electronics, the generated alternatingpower is converted into direct current, which is then brought to land by means of standard cables and connected to the power grid through a DC/AC converter. This system with buoy, rope and generator is expected to be cheap, sturdy, environmentally benign, and to be able to cope with the extreme conditions at sea.
Besides the technical/functional verification and development, the system will also beevaluated scientifically from various environmental, marine biological and marine ecological points of view. The local authority in El Alamein has given permission to deploy up to 40 buoys and a maximum of 10 wave power devices at the site. The research facility is scheduled to be complete by 20012/2013 and will be in operation until 2020-2021 when all the equipment will be removed or prolongationof permits has to be applied for.
PROJECT HISTORY AND PROUPOSE
The planning of the wave power project El Alamein started early spring 2011 by researchers and students at the Department for Engineering Science, Division for Electricity at Antonio de Nebrija´s University.
The project has two goals. One is to verify that the basic technology for a new wave power concept is successful. Theconcept is based on a linear generator standing on a foundation on the seabed, and that will be tested under realistic, natural conditions. Another aim is to evaluate alternative solutions. This means, e.g. testing several buoys varying in material, size and design. The project will also develop generators when knowledge and experience grows. The connected generators will be studied as a unified systemfor electricity production.
The project has permission to use a maximum of 10 generators, which will be deployed successively from 2011 to 2012. Every generator will have an installed capacity of 10 kW. The complete installation of 10 units (100 kW) will, once it is fully operational, produce about 300,000 kWh per year. This amount of electricity is the equivalent of the yearly consumption ofabout 20 households.
Another and equally important goal of the study is to gain knowledge of the effects of this new type of wave power plant (smaller and larger ones) on the local environment. This implies e.g. commercial and leisure fishing, effects on birds and other marine species and effects on other marine biological systems.
To study possible nature conservation and other environmentaleffects, the project is expanded with up to 30 dummy buoys. Consequently, questions about single units and those about the area effects of wave power plants can be investigated. As a result, the knowledge gained from these studies can be used to make environmentally friendly adjustments at an early stage. The generator technology and the simulation models on which the construction is based, allow forvarious construction alternatives. Environmental and nature conservation can be taken into account without having a negative effect on the technical and economical performance.
CHOICE OF LOCATION AND COORDINATES
The search for a suitable site for the research installation started late 2010. The choice fell on an area in the sea off El Alamein
This site provides an acknowledged good wave...