As a renewable energy resource, wave power has much to recommend it, especially as a companion technology to wind power in offshore locations. But wave power is still years behind wind power in becoming a commercially viable technology and a cost-competitive energy solution.
To address the need to accelerate development, the Danish Council for Strategic Research has provided DKK 20m (USD 3.9m) in public funding to create a new international alliance under the leadership of Aalborg University, that will undertake a five year programme of research, reports the university in a press release on its website.
Project leader Jens Kofoed of Aalborg University's Department of Civil Engineering, welcome the move from the state. He comments in the press release: "Hitherto the development of wave energy has largely been based on smaller scale individual projects. This [public funding] is without precedent the largest single grant we have received for this area, which I see as a recognition and an endorsement."
The Danish-led project initiative will bring together some of the best international wave research environments in a long-sighted alliance which can bring wave power closer to the market. The project will focus on one of the key technological challenges for the wave power industry, namely the development of a common design basis.
"We are at an early stage of development, where we are still unsure how best to utilise wave energy," says Jens Kofoed. "There are many different parameters to take into account, so variations in design will continue to be wider than they are for wind turbines. But in a few years we will perhaps see only a handful of different types of wave power machine, and not the hundreds of different ideas that clutter the area today."