AW-Energy case study: Enabling the safe installation of innovative wave technology with bespoke 3D ground modelling techniques

Case study - Enabling safe installation of wave technology - WaveRoller - 663x320

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AW Energy is driving a strong low carbon technology agenda and the LR team have had a huge impact on our ability to successfully deploy this ground-breaking technology. Their ability to analyse complex, technical issues and devise innovative solutions is unrivalled.

– AW-Energy CEO, John Liljelund Quote marks right

Client: AW-Energy
Application: Renewable wave technology - WaveRoller™
Location: Portugal
Sector: Renewable - Offshore Wind

This novel technology is an emission-free, renewable source of energy and it has a low visual impact

About AW-Energy

AW-Energy is a Finnish company in the wave energy sector and the developer of the world-leading WaveRoller™ wave energy converter.

Novel Technology

The WaveRoller™ is a device that converts ocean waves to electricity. It is anchored to the seabed in the nearshore area in depths of between 8-20 meters and captures the movement of the waves with a hinged panel that runs a generator. The device is connected to the electrical grid on the shore and is currently the first grid-connected wave device operating in Portugal.

Project scope

Lloyd's Register has been working with AW Energy for a number of years, providing both structural quality assurance and foundation design support for their first of a kind WaveRoller™ device. For this project, our geoscience and geotechnical experts developed a unique methodology to understand the ground conditions of the site which supported the safe installation of their first, full scale, WaveRoller energy convertor located in southwest Portugal.

The concept

The foundations are a key part of the installation - and understanding the ground conditions is a crucial component of the foundation design. Due to the high energy environment of the site, it was felt that traditional offshore survey and site investigation techniques would not be practical or cost effective. In response to the specific challenges, Lloyd's Register developed an innovative technique of undertaking carefully selected offshore and onshore geological mapping techniques and then integrated all the data into the latest 3D structural geological modelling software, which enabled our experts to model the geology across the site.

The techniques utilised included:

  • Offshore geophysical survey, consisting: multibeam echosounder bathymetry, sidescan sonar and sub-bottom profiler
  • Ariel photogrammetry
  • Diving the offshore reefs to take samples and measure the dip and strike of the bedding
  • Structural geological mapping of the surrounding cliffs and beach outcrops
  • Boreholes drilled on the beach
  • 3D structural geological modelling

Outcome for client

The resulting 3D Advanced Ground Model gave the Foundations Engineers an understanding of the expected ground conditions in the vicinity of the proposed foundations. This may not have been possible with traditional site investigation techniques or would have been prohibitively costly.

You can learn more about the techniques used in this project by watching this short video: