e-Drive: All Electrical Drive Train for Marine Energy Converters

The e-Drive project aims to tackle a fundamental weakness of current wave energy converters, namely the electro-mechanical Power Take-Off (PTO).  e-Drive will improve the PTO chain from generator through to grid interface by creating an all-electric solution.  This will, in turn, address issues of reliability and maintainability.

The goals of the e-Drive project have been defined following extensive discussion with industrial and research partners and are aligned with the needs of the developing marine energy sector. e-Drive will develop an integrated electrical power take off (PTO) system with non-mechanical speed enhancement and integrated, reliable, flexible power electronics. This PTO will provide adaptive control over a wide range of operating regimes, taking into account nominal and extreme load conditions. This will require the development of novel, integrated, low speed generators with speed enhancement, power converter topologies and associated control to replace more conventional hydraulic systems.

The e-Drive project is a collaboration between the Institute for Energy Systems at the University of Edinburgh and Newcastle University's Electrical Power Group. Edinburgh's longstanding heritage and reputation in wave energy is being combined with Newcastle's internationally leading reputation in electrical drive development plus the experience of other Project Partners who are noted leaders in the marine energy and power conversion sectors. Funding is provided by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) under the SuperGen Marine 2015 programme.