Trelleborg, Sweden – Trelleborg's engineered products operations supplied a flexible rubber membrane to Wetfeet, a $4.52 million (€3.9 million), three-year research and development project designed to foster the exploitation of ocean wave energy.
Funded by the European Union's Horizon 2020 programme, the Wetfeet project has brought together 12 partners across six EU countries with aims to address a number of the major constraints that have delayed the sector's progress in ocean wave energy and develop innovative technology for use in wave energy devices.
Wave energy research has found a number of challenges such as the reliability of technical components, high development costs and risks and industrial scalability of proposed and tested technologies, said Jose Candido, head of economy and industry at WavEC Offshore Renewables, the company leading the project.
Trelleborg's flexible rubber membrane will be used to drive forward innovation with Symphony, a variable-volume submerged point-absorber, said Jacco Vonk, marketing and business development manager for Trelleborg's engineered products operation.
The membrane not only acts as a seal to protect internal components from external water pressure, but as a bearing to prevent the hull and compensation tank from colliding. These ensure a submerged pressure differential device in a smaller geometry, reducing concerns around the cost of Symphony's development, Vonk said.