IIT Madras Researchers Deploy Energy Converter for Electricity Generation from Waves

Article By : Indian Institute of Technology Madras

IIT Madras researchers have developed an Ocean Wave Energy Converter that can generate electricity from sea waves.

The Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT Madras) Researchers have developed an Ocean Wave Energy Converter that can generate electricity from sea waves. The trials of this device were successfully completed during the second week of November 2022.

The device was deployed at a location about 6km off the coast of Tuticorin, Tamil Nadu, at a location with a depth of 20m. This device targets generating 1MW of power from ocean waves in the next three years.

The success of this project will help fulfil several objectives such as the UN Ocean decade and sustainable development goals. India’s goals include deep water missions, clean energy and achieving a blue economy. It could help India meet its climate change-related goals of generating 500GW of electricity by 2030 through renewable energy.

The device is targeted towards remote offshore locations that require reliable electricity and communication either by supplying electric power to payloads that are integrated directly in or on the device or located in its vicinity as on the seabed and in the water column. The targeted stakeholders are the oil and gas, defence and security installations and communication sectors.

IIT Madras faculty Prof. Abdus Samad, who has been working for over a decade on wave energy, leads the mission. He established a state-of-the-art Wave Energy and Fluids Engineering Laboratory (WEFEL) at IIT Madras. His team designed and tested a scaled-down model. The lab is also researching other applications for this technology such as producing power for smaller devices for the ocean like navigational buoys and data buoys, among others.

“India has a 7,500km-long coastline capable of producing 54GW of power, satisfying a substantial amount of the country’s energy requirement. Seawater stores tidal, wave and Ocean thermal energy. Among them, the harnessing of 40GW wave energy is possible in India,” Prof. Abdus Samad, Department of Ocean Engineering, IIT Madras, said. “Even single devices in different locations along the Indian coastline can generate large quantities of clean power. We are also contemplating placing multiple devices in an array configuration for maximum wave power extraction from the location. Our vision is to make India sustainable by tapping the marine energy and net zero carbon emission to mitigate climate impact.”

The project received funding support through the Innovative Research Project of IIT Madras, TBI-KIET under the DST Nidhi-Prayas Scheme and the Australian Alumni Grant Scheme 2022 by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Australian Government.

IIT Madras partnered with a start-up Virya Paramita Energy (VPE) Pvt Ltd, and Motilal Nehru National Institute of Technology (MNNIT) Allahabad, for this test. The electrical storage system was designed by the GKC Institute of Engineering and Technology and MCKV Institute of Engineering, West Bengal. Waterfront Engineering and Infrastructure Pvt Ltd assisted in deploying the system in the Ocean.

Speaking about this project, S.S.A.K. Karthik of Virya Paramita Energy (VPE), said, “Ocean has enormous opportunities, and exploring with proper technology is the need of the time.”

IIT Madras and VPE have a joint development agreement to commercialize the technology.

Sea trials

The product has been named ‘Sindhuja-I,’ which means ‘generated from the ocean.’ The system has a floating buoy, a spar, and an electrical module. The buoy moves up and down as the wave moves up and down. In the present design, a balloon-like system called a ‘buoy’ has a central hole that allows a long rod called a spar to pass through it.

The spar can be fixed to the seabed, and passing waves will not affect it, while the buoy will move up and down and produce relative motion between them. The relative motion gives rotation to an electric generator to produce power. In the present design, the spar floats, and a mooring chain keeps the system in place.

Project R&D work at IIT Madras

Prof. Samad’s student MS student Vishnu Vijayasankar designed a Point Absorber Wave Energy Converter (PAWEC) (Vishnu is currently a PhD student at Virginia Tech in the United States). Another MS student Suman Kumar continued his research.

After completing his Master’s degree, Suman joined the start-up Virya Paramita Energy (VPE) Pvt Ltd to develop the wave energy converter. Subsequently, students of MNNIT Allahabad Prashant Kumar and Devesh Singh started working on the same technology. Prashant and Anulekha Majumdar, a Scientist of NIOT, joined his team as PhD students. Another PhD student Kalyan Chakravarthi also joined the team last year and working towards the same goal.

Leave a comment