Wedge: Business Model Innovation

Spanish Patents and Trademarks Office

Energy of the future: The global potential of wave energy is in the same order of magnitude as global electricity consumption.

(Photo: Wedge)

Wave energy belongs to the renewable energy sector and is an area of high growth given the importance of finding alternative, sustainable and clean energy sources. Spain is emerging as a leader in the development of marine renewable energies for three main reasons:

  • one of the best energy resources in Europe;
  • a current and future legislative framework that includes wave energy; and
  • a perfectly tested model for success (wind energy experience).

Marine energy is a set of technologies that harness the energy of the oceans. The sea has huge energy potential, mainly embodied in the waves, tides and currents and the temperature differences between the surface and the seabed.

The use of marine energy does not generate considerable visual or environmental impact, and it is a highly predictable energy resource. However, adverse sea conditions, wave force and marine corrosion, as well as the need to have mechanisms for transferring the energy to land, mean that this technology requires large amounts of investment and is still, with a few exceptions, in the pre-commercial phase.

In Spain, there is high potential for the development of marine energy on the Cantabrian coast, the Atlantic coast and the Canary Islands. It is estimated that this energy resource can provide more than 20,000 MW, which would contribute to national electricity production. There are currently diverse experimental installations.

Within marine energy, there are a great number of technologies that depend, mainly, on the type of energy to be used. The main technologies are listed below:

  • WAVE: Various converters with different degrees of maturity have been developed:
    • floating (the Pelamis and floating buoys);
    • anchored to the shore (oscillating water column); and
    • anchored to the seabed.
  • TIDAL: Uses the natural ascending (high tide) or descending (low tide) movement of the water.
  • SALINITY GRADIENT: Energy obtained as a result of osmotic pressure differences, which is called saline gradient energy.
  • OCEAN THERMAL: Converts ocean thermal energy using the temperature difference between the surface heated by the sun and the cold depths.
    (Photo: Wedge)
(Photo: Wedge)

Wedge Global integrates the most valuable activities in the value chain of the wave energy market at the moment (design, production, testing, commercial application). This puts it in a vital future strategic position to play a dominant role in the promotion and development of marine parks for electricity generation and become a global provider and leader of turnkey projects.

Wedge, leader in innovation

As has happened and is happening with other technologies based on renewable sources, such as wind or solar, with the advanced state of maturity of Wedge technology for converting wave energy into electricity, now is the time for the company to begin site selection works for the installation of commercial plants based on Wedge converters.

(Photo: Wedge)

The Spanish Patents and Trademarks Office granted scientists Dr. Julio Lucas Torralba and Dr. Manuel Pinilla Martín a patent for the linear switched reluctance motor/generator developed as part of the WEDGE project. The invention is an electrical linear switched reluctance machine, which can take the form of an electric motor or generator, with a series of features that allow the mass/power ratio to be optimized while reducing the production cost.

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