The Project aims to develop a breakthrough technology for the conversion of wave energy into electricity using Dielectric Elastomer Generators (DEGs).
DEGs are electrostatic generators which are highly deformable solid-state capacitors that convert the mechanical work required for elastomer deformation into stored electrostatic energy which can be withdrawn from the capacitor at any time during or after the energy conversion phase.
DEG technology has the potential to merge the prime mover and power take-off (PTO) components of Wave Energy Converters (WECs) into a single deformable body (typically a membrane) with the function of both capturing ocean wave energy and converting it into electricity.
Other benefits of this technology include easy manufacturability, handling, assembling and recyclability; good resistance to corrosive environments and biofouling; silent operation; integrated sensing functions; solid-state monolithic embodiment with no sliding parts, no need of lubrication and low internal friction
Stage 2 Project objective is the development, testing and assessment of a complete fully functional sub-prototype of the considered DEG-PTO with scale in the range of 1:15 to 1:25.
Working principle of a dielectric elastomer generator: (A) unstretched DEG, (B) charge when stretched, (C) allow to relax/unstretch (voltage increases), (D) discharge