IIT Madras Successfully Develops and Deploys Ocean Wave Energy Converter Near Tamil Nadu

The lead researcher, Prof. Abdus Samad said the project can help India tap into marine energy and mitigate climate change

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By Paromita Gupta Originally published Dec 6, 2022

IIT Madras

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On Monday, one of India's prestigious technical universities, Indian Institute Of Technology, Madras, through its official website, announced that it pulled off a wave energy project after it completed its trials in the second week of November.

The device, Sindhuja-I, an ocean wave energy converter, was deployed 6 KM off the Tuticorin coast in Tamil Nadu at a depth of 20 meters. It was aimed at remote offshore locations which required reliable electricity and communication. The requirements were fulfilled either by supplying the payloads with electric power which was built in or on the device or located nearby on a seabed and in the water column.

"India has a 7,500 km long coastline capable of producing 54 GW 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," shared IIT Madra faculty Professor and the lead researcher Abdus Samad. He has been committed to researching and working on wave energy for over a decade and has also established the avant-garde ''Wave Energy and Fluids Engineering Laboratory' (WEFEL) at the university.

"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," he further added.

He was assisted by MS student Mr Vishnu Vijayshankar who designed a 'Point Absorber Wave Energy Converter' (PAWEC) and MS student Mr Suman Kuar.

The funding for this project was done through the 'Innovative Research Project' of IIT Madras, TBI-KIET under the DST Nidhi-Prayas Scheme, and the Australian Government's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade provided Australian Alumni Grant Scheme 2022. The university also partnered with Motilal Nehru National Institute of Technology (MNNIT) Allahabad and wave-energy based startup Virya Paramita Energy (VPE) Pvt. Ltd. GKC Institute of Engineering and Technology along with MCKV Institute of Engineering, West Bengal designed the electrical storage system for the project, whereas the Waterfront Engineering and Infrastructure Pvt Ltd helped in deploying the system in the ocean.

The Design

Sindhuja-I's system is divided into three segments- a floating buoy, an electrical module, and a spar. The spar can be secured to the seabed which will not let the waves affect it. This will allow the buoy to move with the waves and produce relative motion between them. The motion will give a rotation to an electric generator which will produce power. In the project's design, the spar stays afloat while a mooring chain keeps the system intact.

The Future

The device is looking to generate 1MW of power through ocean waves in the next three years. Meanwhile, the lab will continue to research and develop other applications, such as producing power for smaller devices for the ocean, like navigational buoys and data buoys, to name a few.

The project, furthermore, aims at assisting in fulfilling helping fulfill several climate-related objectives, including India's goal of generating 500 GW of electricity through renewable energy by 2030.

Paromita Gupta

Features Writer

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