Wavepiston turns to James Fisher Strainstall to support leading wave energy project

James Fisher Strainstall’s (JF Strainstall) load monitoring solution is set to collect critical data insights to enable the Wavepiston WEC system’s full-scale deployment at Gran Canaria’s PLOCAN test site

The challenge

Wave energy specialist Wavepiston required an industry partner to support the load monitoring requirements of its latest project at the PLOCAN (Oceanic Platform of the Canary Islands) specialist offshore test site – located off the coast of Gran Canaria. Funded by the EU, this aims to demonstrate the full-scale capabilities of its Wavepiston WEC system in preparation for commercial deployment. This system consists of an advanced turbine generator combined with a string of 24 energy collectors – spanning 200 metres in length – to supply electricity to the local grid.

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To ensure the project’s successful development, Wavepiston needed a reliable and accurate load measurement solution to understand the tension exerted onto the system’s mooring arrangement for safety and design optimisation purposes. Having supported its previous 1:2 scale prototype in the North Sea, Wavepiston turned to JF Strainstall to answer the increased data collection demands of 1:1 scale operation.  

JF Strainstall's solution

In response to Wavepiston’s requirements, JF Strainstall specified, produced and delivered two 120-tonne cabled subsea load shackles from its UK engineering facility. These provide accurate load monitoring data in real time, enabling the wave energy specialists to determine whether the system is behaving in the water as predicted. The team can then leverage this to optimise its system’s design and performance. The technology also allows Wavepiston to monitor the system’s structural integrity, ensuring that energy production is maintained at all times while mitigating the risk of H&S incidents.

To achieve this, the solution needed to overcome the test site’s harsh offshore environment – which frequently observes wave heights of nearly 10 metres and cross currents of up to 1.4 knots. With a proven record of accomplishment in supporting the hydrocarbon sector’s challenging North Sea operations, JF Strainstall’s durable technology can reliably sense minute changes in load even in the toughest conditions. 

Michael Henriksen, CEO at Wavepiston:

“We found James Fisher Strainstall to be highly professional and capable. Its competitively priced technology was very high quality and its delivery proved to be straightforward and efficient. We look forward to working with the company again in the future." 

The results

The Wavepiston WEC system is now awaiting deployment to PLOCAN, where it is set to have a peak effect of 200kW while producing 547,000 kWh per year – this equals the annual electricity consumption of 140 homes. When the system goes live, JF Strainstall’s service team will remain on hand to support the project going forwards, offering a responsive source of technical assistance should the need arise. 

Since receiving the solution, Wavepiston has praised the shackles’ quality, as well as their supplier’s seamless delivery and integration process. This has led the wave energy specialists to express that it intends to call on JF Strainstall again for future projects.  


Read more about JF Strainstall’s load monitoring solutions.