Mutrikus mole

Wind- , hydropower and solar energy are the common alternatives of energy production, not so familiar is the generation of electricity by waves and current power plants. But the focus of attention drifts more and more to this kind of energy generation. In the near future could 15% of the global energy consumption be covered by the potential of our oceans, forecasts the World Energy Council in London.

In the South of Belfast are already 1000 households provided by oceanic energy. Two under-water turbines generate 1.2 Megawatt in the first commercial tidal power station in Strangford. Strangford has so far the most efficient commercial tidal power station in the world.

So if in the near future in Mutriku, a small fishing village at the Basque Atlantic coastline the lights go on, will the thunderous breakers of the Atlantic Ocean be responsible. In Mitruku comes a unique wave energy plant into existence. But it’s not build in the wide ocean, but in the harbor of the village.

The plant will consists of 16 oscillating water columns (OWCs)or chambers, forming a total collector length of approximately 100m, in which 16 Wells turbines will be installed (one per OWC). Each turbine will have a rated capacity of 18.5 kW, giving a total installed capacity of 0.3 MW. The facility will also contain control and power conversion equipment, a transformer and a line connecting to the power grid.
The plant will be supplied turnkey by Voith Siemens Hydro, Tolosa. The technology is being developed by Wavegen, also a member of the Voith-Siemens group. The plant has an anticipated annual production capacity of 600,000 kWh—equivalent to the domestic power consumption of 600 people.

Javier Marqués, Renewable Energies Director, the Ente Vasco de la Energia (EVE), sees in the Mitruku project only the beginning of oceanic energy. The Basque region with its 200 km long coastline could be ideal for further wave energy plants. The plants could provide 10% of the total Basque energy. But looking further the future lies 5-7 miles on the open sea, with stronger waves and more potential, says Javier Marques.

Mitruku had the advantage that the plant was build into an existing harbor mole that needed renovation. Therefore were the costs minimized to 1,7 mil. € for the plants technique (Eve) and 4 mil. € for the mole extension (regional government).

Mutriku mole
Hafenanlage Mutriku -obs/Voith AG


VW and Lichtblick a pioneering fusion

The energy company Lichtblick and the car manufacturer VW announced their worldwide energy partnership. They came up with a project which will be an all around advantage for all participants. VW will produce around 100.000 Cogeneration plants called “EcoBlue” which will be placed and networked in mainly multi-family households by Lichtblick by 2010. If everything works out as planed these cogeneration plants will provide as much electricity as two nuclear power plants.
The concept is that all cogeneration plants will act as one electricity shoal, the electricity will be bundled. The idea behind this shoal is to pitch in if there is a lack of energy provided by renewable energy sources (e.g. caused by adverse weather). Other than usual power plants like coal-burning our nuclear, the cogeneration plants can be switched on and off easily and fast and are therefore very efficient and environmentally friendly.
The VW engine and the use of heat and electricity will assure an energy efficiency of 92% this is two or three times as high as the one of usual power plants. Additional the cogeneration plants shall be run with regenerative biogas supporting the environmental friendliness and even making it climate neutral.
Besides the environmental aspect it is also lucrative for the consumers. There will be a onetime installation cost of 5000€ including the recycling of the old heater. The package includes an “EcoBlue” cogeneration plant, a heat storage tank, data- and electricity connections. The monthly costs will be average 15€. So the “EcoBlue” is very desirable for households which consume a lot of energy and, or want to get rid of their old heater.
Furthermore the project will turn Lichtblick into a more competitive player on the German energy market. Resulting in a advantage for the consumers other energy companies are already investing in their own cogeneration plants but couldn’t come up with a competitive concept.
VW uses the opportunity to maintain 300 jobs in a rather dark time for the automotive industry and makes a first step into other fields of investment.
All in all, the project will affect the environment, the energy market, the households and the automotive industry in only positive ways.

If you wanna know how a cogeneration plant works have a look:


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