Project SEAWEED– a structured approach to concept generation for wave energy

The WES programme is founded on its competitive, Stage gated technology development process, taking technologies from concept refinement to large scale prototypes as can be seen below.

The success of the Stage Gate process is based on the availability of innovative and attractive concepts to enter stage one, and the ability to objectively assess technical quality and select the most promising technologies to progress through stage gates.

The industrial and research communities have so far provided a suite of promising technologies which are being funded by WES, however, the likelihood of success of these technologies and future, innovative designs will be maximised by introducing structured processes to drive concept creation.

Project SEAWEED is developing this structured approach to wave energy concept creation and selection.

By scanning the design space and using structured processes in the assessment of promising concepts, SEAWEED aims to ensure objectivity in concept generation. The methodology will combine the best structured approaches to innovation from offshore renewables and other sectors, adapted to form a bespoke toolset for the wave energy sector.

The scope of Project SEAWEED goes beyond the market for grid scale electricity generation, to consider the overall opportunity to achieve a return on investment from harnessing of ocean wave energy resources. 

SEAWEED will develop new tools and combine these with useful aspects of existing methods for concept generation and selection used in more mature sectors, including:

Systems Engineering

TRIZ, the “Theory of Inventive Problem Solving”

Multidisciplinary Optimisation

As a package, the SEAWEED toolset will facilitate generation of concepts followed by the selection of attractive and achievable options. WES will use these outputs to guide future support mechanisms to ensure the best technologies progress into the later development stages.

WES is collaborating with the United States Department of Energy (DOE) as part of the SEAWEED project. The DOE has similar aspirations for the concept creation and assessment process which are being implemented through their Wave-SPARC programme. Collaboration between WES and the DOE enables sharing of knowledge and the opportunity to compare and contrast different solutions to the innovation challenges in this complex environment.