Using electro active polymers to transform wave energy conversion

Ambroise Wattez, Rick Van Kessel

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedings/Edited volumeConference contributionScientificpeer-review


The first generations of wave energy converters have had a number of forms, but all are essentially large steel structures concentrating the power take off onto small mechanical devices. A number of prototype devices have been installed offshore, but due to their high fabrication and installation costs, coupled with significant maintenance requirements, the production of electricity at an acceptable cost has remained elusive. To avoid the limitations of these devices, a second generation wave energy converter is being developed using electro active polymers (EAP), which are capable of generating electricity directly from wave action without the need for any mechanical power take off. The resulting system is flexible and possesses an infinite number of degrees of freedom, allowing wave energy to be captured more efficiently than with conventional devices. Deployed offshore, such a device would have no complex mechanical parts, would function silently, and would require minimal maintenance. The economics of such a system lead to predictions of a cost of electricity significantly below the levels of the first generation devices. The paper explains the principals involved in using EAP for the generation of electricity, the application of EAP to wave energy conversion, and reports key results from the ongoing development program. The paper also describes the main features of the prototype wave energy converter system presently under development for deployment offshore.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationOffshore Technology Conference 2016, OTC 2016
PublisherSociety of Petroleum Engineers (SPE)
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9781510824294
Publication statusPublished - 2016
Externally publishedYes
EventOffshore Technology Conference 2016, OTC 2016 - Houston, United States
Duration: 2 May 20165 May 2016


ConferenceOffshore Technology Conference 2016, OTC 2016
CountryUnited States


  • Electro Active Polymers
  • Renewable
  • Energy
  • Wave
  • conversion

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