UK boffins bolster wave ties
Brunel University takes wraps off new mooring system connector
London’s Brunel University has taken the wraps off a lightweight wave device mooring system connector made from novel materials.
The centre of the connector is made from Basaltium, made from recycled aluminium strengthened by tiny basalt fibres, developed by university’s Experimental Techniques Centre and the Brunel Centre for Advanced Solidification Technology.
The Basaltium core is coated in another innovative material called Oilon – a low-friction nylon from plastics makers Nylacast.
The connectors form part of the STORM (Specialised Thimbles for Offshore Renewable Marine energy) programme with Tension Technology International and the European Marine Energy Centre.
Many wave devices float on the sea surface while the movement of the waves powers a turbine inside. The electricity they generate is harvested via cables embedded in its mooring ropes.
“Generally, at connector point, the ropes deteriorate and end up breaking, with big costs for retrieval,” said Lorna Aguilano of the Experimental Techniques Centre.
“Our team has developed a new extra-light material that would solve this problem – increasing the in-service life, minimising capital expenditure and maintenance costs.”