Building an Energy Infrastructure that Creates Resilience
In 2020, we have experienced one of the most severe energy shocks in recent history. And, our reliance on fossil fuels has left us even more exposed to the economic impacts of the global crisis. However, with the vast reduction in fossil fuel consumption and emissions comes the potential for longer-lasting implications. The COVID-19 pandemic could just be the catalyst we need to finally put renewables at the front of the energy race.
Renewable energy has somewhat defied the pandemic, showing growth while other fuels have declined. And, this resilience reflects the strong appetite from investors. A November 2020 International Energy Agency report has disclosed that almost 90% of new energy generation will be from renewables in 2020; and, if that trend continues, it could displace coal from the top spot by 2025.
As energy demands will ramp back up again once weâre in the wake of COVID-19, governments have an opportunity to achieve global change. Recovery from the pandemic will likely come with a jump in emissions, and it is, therefore, down to our governments to place clean energy at the heart of that recovery. By looking to renewable energies and innovative engineering solutions, we can repair economic damage, create new jobs and shape the infrastructure required for a resilient future.
SINN Powerâs Ocean Hybrid Platformâs wave energy conversion array. Image Credit: SINN Power.
Sinn Powerâs Floating Ocean Hybrid Platform
German startup SINN Power has been developing and building innovative wave energy systems since 2015. However, after many years of research and development, it has now launched its Ocean Hybrid Platform to add to its offering of high-tech generators, power electronic components, and wave energy storage solutions. The result is a robust, modular and affordable maritime energy platform that could provide a competitive off-grid energy solution.
While offshore wave energy conversion is nothing new, SINN Powerâs modular maritime platform generates renewable energy from waves, wind and solar sources. Its hybrid nature and its modular design make it easy to connect and expand (it can facilitate plenty of modulesâfrom two dozen up to as many as several hundred). Altogether, the technology has the potential to supply energy globally and contribute to offshore wind farms.
Long-term tests by the company have shown that the structure can withstand waves up to six metres high, giving it an edge against the competition. The platform offers a solution to regions that are affected by harsh maritime environments, giving them access to previously unobtainable renewable energy and ocean energy solutions.
Engineers and other workers stand on a seawall to observe and work on SINN Powerâs ocean hybrid platform. Image Credit: SINN Power.
The Engineering Behind the Innovation
Manufacturing a platform that can function in harsh environmental conditions requires meticulous attention to detail. SINN Powerâs platform does just that using IP68 electrical components, state-of-the-art saltwater resistant materials, and a high-tech buoy.
The platform can be configured to meet location-specific needs by harnessing the power of its wave, wind, and light (namely photovoltaic) modules:
- Wave: the platform integrates four wave energy converters in each floating unit. As the waves move up and down, each module turns a lifting rod in motion, creating friction and generating electricity.
- Wind: the platform has up to four 6kWp (kilowatts peak) wind turbines, which can be integrated into each floating unit.
- Light: each floating unit can be equipped with up to 20 kilowatts of photovoltaic generation to account for regions with low wave potential.
Again, the floating platform can also be a hybrid, which involves all of the above three modules being used in combination (see above photo). This enables the highest baseload capacity and reduces the need for storage.
These individual modules are combined and connected into one rigid structure, which enables the platform to float on the surface like an anchored ship. While waves have the highest energy density and provide the greatest supply continuity, not all areas have the potential for high wave energy. However, with its said combination of renewable energy modules, SINNâs platform creates a viable solution.
Consider the benefits of SINN Powerâs modular and hybrid approach to energy generation, particularly when compared to traditional renewable technologies, such as an offshore wind farm (pictured). Image Credit: PxHere.
The Benefits of SINN Powerâs Approach
The distinguishing feature of SINN Powerâs hybrid platform approach is that it enables the optimum use of the environmental conditions that surround it. Alongside its said benefit of being modular, some of the other key benefits include the following.
It is Simple, Reliable, and Affordable
All of the components within the platform are mass-producible, pre-assemblable and easily transportable. This means that they are able to reach even remote coastal regions and could create new opportunities in poor communities. Whatâs more, the platform is reliable: instead of using environmentally-damaging hydraulics, which is prone to failure, SINNâs modular design ensures the WEC is protected from high waves. And this, along with the ability to anticipate repairs before serious damage occurs, helps to make the solution competitively priced when compared to alternative solutions.
It is Optimisable and Durable
Another great advantage of SINN Powerâs platform is its durability. All components have been built to be resistant to salt water and harsh maritime conditions and require minimal maintenance. Plus, the technologyâs IP68 sensors continuously transmit data to diagnostic centres where power output patterns are analysed to enable early detection of anomalies.
And, when repairs are required, the easy-to-access substructure makes maintenance an efficient process.
A sustainable energy and renewable technologies concept. Image Credit: Bigstock.
The Path to a Sustainable Recovery Plan
By investing in energy solutions like SINN Powerâs Ocean Hybrid Platform, governments can boost employment in the engineering sector while creating an affordable and reliable energy solution. Now, at a time such as this when we have a heightened awareness of the benefits of clean and secure energy, there is an increased chance for lasting change.
Today, sustainable solutions such as SINN Powerâs innovation ought to be more attractive to investors and policymakers than ever before. While renewable infrastructure isnât going to stop another global pandemic, it might just help us to withstand the economic fallout.