Promoting Clean Technologies ^ Forging Cross-Industry Collaboration

Wavebob Ocean Energy: Making Offshore drilling obsolete one buoy at a time

The Wavebob is buoy that thinks and powers cities rendering offshore drilling a very bad nightmare we can forget about.

An Introduction to Wave Power
Capturing the immense power of the ocean has been one of mans challenges for centuries. With the ever increasing rise in fossil fuel prices, the pace of development in the ocean energy sector is increasing. Wave power is attracting an increasing amount of attention from regional and/or national governments where there is access to a suitable resource. Geographically and commercially the richest wave energy resources are to be found off:

  • The Atlantic coast of Europe (especially off Ireland, the UK and Portugal)
  • The West Coast North America (from San Francisco to British Columbia)
  • Hawaii
  • New Zealand

A number of utilities and oil majors are taking, or have already taken, steps to secure a position in the emerging technology of wave energy conversion.  These include:

  • USA: Chevron TVC; Pacific Gas and Electric
  • Canada: BC Hydro
  • Portugal: Energias de Portugal; Enersis; Grupo Generg
  • Spain: Iberdrola
  • UK: Scottish and Southern Electricity: E-ON
  • Ireland: Electricity Supply Board; Bord na Mona

The Wavebob is an axi-symmetric, self-reacting point absorber, primarily operating in the heave mode.  It is specifically designed to recover useful power from ocean wave energy, and to be deployed in large arrays offshore.

It incorporates a number of highly innovative features, protected by a series of World patents that have been assigned to the Company.

Tuning and control: The Wavebob has exceptional facilities for almost instantaneous tuning and longer period adjustment of natural frequencies and bandwidth. On-board autonomous control is a feature, and there is considerable scope for intelligent systems, for example individual units co-operating in arrays. These are highly significant attributes in changing wave climates, so typical of the North Atlantic.

Accessibility: The outer torus has a diameter of the order of 20metres, and an overall height of 8 metres, allowing adequate space for the power train and control systems below decks.  As a large floating structure, Wavebob is relatively stable in all but the most severe storms.

Low operating and maintenance costs, high availability: O&M costs have a massive bearing on the costs / kWh delivered. Only well-proven and standard marine hydraulic components and generators are installed.  The Wavebob typically carries three or four motor-alternator sets, all or some of which may be entrained, depending on incident wave energy. In-built redundancy facilitates remote switching and high availability when weather conditions might preclude maintenance visits. The main device remains on site (for up to 25 years), with individual components being replaced and taken ashore for servicing as necessary.

The Board

Christopher Bielenberg, Chairman
Christopher Bielenberg is the founder of the REL Consultancy Group. REL is the only global firm dedicated to generating cash flow improvements through a comprehensive suite of project-based benchmarking and transformation services, as well as ongoing advisory services. Christopher studied Physics at Trinity College Dublin and obtained his MBA at INSEAD, France. He held management positions in with Novartis and with Corning and has extensive experience working on assignments with many of the world’s leading firms, including IBM, Unilever, GE and Philips, which have been developed and conducted on a worldwide basis.

Andrew Parish, Chief Executive Officer
Andrew is a graduate of the National University of Ireland, the Irish Management Institute and Henley Management College, London. Prior to joining Wavebob, he was Irish Practice Leader for Pera International – a commercial R&D consultancy and previously held management positions in Sustainable Energy Ireland and GE Water and Process Technology. He is a member of the Chartered Institute of Management and Institute of Engineering and Technology.

William Dick, Founder
William has an honours degree in physics from Trinity College Dublin and is the inventor of the Wavebob.  He has over 40 years’ experience in industry, starting with International Computers, then Services Director with C&C, and Head of Management Services, Irish Distillers Group.  He has managed many large capital projects, set up and handed over three new businesses, directed a series of EC applied research projects and, for the past 10 years, has concentrated on renewable energy R&D.

Jeremy Dowler, Non-Executive Director
Jeremy Dowler is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England & Wales and an honours graduate of the University of Reading. He has been involved in wind energy projects since 1995 and in wave energy projects since 2000. He is on the Board of a number of renewable energy companies. He is an executive director of Fred. Olsen Ltd in London with particular responsibilities for financial matters. He has had extensive experience on the Board of various companies in continental Europe.

David Surplus, Non-Executive Director
David Surplus is Managing Director of the B9 Energy Group of companies which he formed in 1992 after previously working in the merchant navy and for Lloyd’s Register. B9 Energy has now developed numerous renewable energy projects and become the first wind farm operation company in the world to achieve accreditation to ISO14001. B9 Energy has so far overseen the generation of 1 billion units (kWhrs) of green electricity. David is now working on feasibility studies for offshore developments.

Franc Mouwen, Chief Operations Officer
A mechanical engineering graduate of Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands with an MBA from IMD of Switzerland. International senior experience in project and operations management of large scale capital projects and consulting for infrastructure construction.

Jochem Weber PhD, Head of Research
Jochem is a senior mechanical engineer with considerable experience in ocean wave energy. His PhD was in the theoretical and numerical modelling of Wave Energy Converters and his earlier engineering experience included senior positions in the wind energy sector: with Mercedes-Benz and as a consulting engineer.

Joe Murtagh, Head of Engineering
Joe is a Design Engineering Manager with extensive experience in mechanical, structural & hydraulic engineering.  As a consultant, Joe had considerable experience in carrying out project reviews for Government agencies & Institutes, project management of the Irish McCabe Wave Pump and has invented a unique power transmission system for wave energy devices. His previous experience includes periods as Chief Design Engineer with Bord na Mona, Wavemaster Ltd., and senior engineering roles in LIEBHERR and Jacobs International.

Derek Robertson, President, Wavebob LLC
Derek graduated from the US Naval Academy with a degree in Aerospace Engineering and following five years at sea as a Navy Department Head, completed an MBA in Trinity College Dublin. Following management positions in a communications technology company and with the Irish Government’s national energy agency – SEI, Derek was awarded Stanford Certified Project Manager and returned to the US as a management consultant providing service to a number of corporate clients including the US Navy.

Karen Dunne, Financial Controller
Karen Dunne is an Associate of the Institute of Chartered Management Accountants and has extensive experience at Financial Controller level in the following business sectors: FMCG, Public Limited Company, Public Sector, Construction, Manufacturing, Information Technology and Sales & Distribution.


Wavebob on Maryland Morning (June 9th 2008)

Wavebob on Today with Pat Kenny (March 6th 2008),242,209

Wavebob on Mooney Goes Wild (October 19th 2007)

Wavebob on Drivetime (October 16th 2007),242,209

Wavebob on Into the Deep (August 4th 2006)

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