The University of Manchester and partners are developing an innovative new wave energy device known as the 'Manchester Bobber'. The vision is to have a series of Bobbers working together to generate electricity. One concept which is currently being explored is the use of decommissioned offshore rigs as platforms for the devices.
Professor Peter Stansby, Professor of Hydrodynamics at The University of Manchester, said: "Offshore wave energy represents a substantial concentrated 'green' energy source for an island state like the UK. Energy from the sea may be extracted in many ways and harnessing the energy from the bobbing motion of the sea is not a new idea. It is the hydrodynamics of the float employed by the Manchester Bobber that provides the vital connection to generating electricity."
The devices unique features include:
The vulnerable mechanical and electrical components are housed in a protected environment well above sea level, which makes for ease of accessibility
All mechanical and electrical components are readily available, resulting in high reliability compared to other devices, with a large number of more sophisticated components
The Manchester Bobber will respond to waves from any direction without requiring adjustment
The ability to maintain and repair specific 'Bobber' generators (independent of others in a linked group) means that generation supply to the network can continue uninterrupted
Phase One of the project (testing of 1/100th scale working model) was successfully completed in January 2005. Phase Two, which is commencing now, involves a 1/10th scale device that has been constructed and will be tested over a two week period. Phase Three will involve a full scale prototype being constructed.