(ANSYS: Southpointe, PA) -- ANSYS Inc., a global innovator of simulation software and technologies designed to optimize product development processes, announces that software from ANSYS is helping transform the relentless forces of waves into electricity. Green Ocean Energy Ltd, a U.K.-based renewable energy company, is using technology from ANSYS to develop devices that will reliably generate renewable power from the motion of the seas. The project’s complex development process includes rigorous technical requirements, severe environmental conditions, and strict product delivery deadlines. Green Ocean Energy identified the advanced engineering simulation tools from ANSYS as a critical element in getting the product to market in a cost-effective and timely manner.
With rising fuel costs and environmental concerns, governments and organizations around the world are focusing on clean, safe, sustainable, and alternative energy sources for power generation. Green Ocean Energy is developing two innovative devices that will harness the waters of the North Atlantic: the Ocean Treader and Wave Treader (see figures below). They are designed to bob on the surface of the ocean while waves cause attached floating arms to move up and down to power on-board generators. Electricity is sent back to shore via underwater cables. Each machine is designed to produce 500 kW of electricity—enough to power 125 homes—so a farm of 30 such devices would have a rating of 15 mW.
Hydrodynamic and structural analysis tools from ANSYS are being applied to address one of the primary challenges: reaching a balance between structural strength and weight restrictions. With an expected 25-year design life, the machines must withstand rough waters and gale-force winds; conversely, structural members must be lightweight to keep production costs within budget and to allow for sufficient floatation.
“Because prototypes cost more than $3 million dollars each and take months to construct, numerous rounds of hardware test-and-redesign cycles are impractical,” says George Smith, managing director of Green Ocean Energy Ltd. “The virtual prototyping capabilities of the ANSYS tools have been a critical element in getting the products to produce maximum energy output as well as to operate effectively for decades. As a result, engineering simulation is helping our company meet all technical requirements, deadlines, and business objectives.”
Though the idea of wave-powered energy has captured the imagination for centuries, this renewable energy source has not been economically feasible till recently. “Significant engineering hurdles must be overcome to develop efficient, reliable, and economical wave-powered electrical generation systems that could be deployed on a mass-production basis. Green Ocean Energy is a company successful at leveraging solutions from ANSYS to reach their business objectives, and improve the environment at the same time,” says Dipankar Choudhury, vice president of corporate product strategy and planning at ANSYS. “Because our technology provides detailed insight into the behavior of designs, it is ideal for developing a wide range of products that can benefit the environment—inventing low-mileage and clean energy automobiles, tracking pollutant plumes, increasing efficiency of wastewater treatment plants, optimizing energy production from fossil fuels, and engineering safer and more sustainable buildings. ANSYS offers proven solutions to help organizations be at the forefront of clean and green.”