Wave energy: Mitsui and Bombora in Japan


Wave energy could be one of the major sources of electricity in Japan. This is what we are trying to find out Mitsui OSK Lines (MOL) and Bombora which signed an agreement on Thursday, January 7. The objective for the Japanese shipping company MOL is to develop the hydraulic potential of the Japanese coast. It will rely on the mWave technology developed by the British company Bombora. Currently, both companies are looking for sites that can be developed.

Developing wave energy in Japan

Identify ways to implement mWave technology

Last Monday, January 7, MOL and Bombora signed an agreement to identify ways to implement mWave technology on the Japanese coast. The objective would be to develop the strong hydraulic potential of Japan. Indeed, its coasts, especially the Pacific coast, are among the most stormy in the world.

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Currently, the two companies are looking together for marine sites that could combine the exploitation of hydraulic wave energy with the implementation of an offshore wind farm.

One step closer to carbon neutrality by 2050

Especially since Japan has an ambition of 30 to 45GW of offshore wind power by 2040 as part of its strategy to be carbon neutral by 2050.

Also, the development of mWave technology would eventually allow Japan to reduce its dependence on oil. This is true for MOL in the context of its shipping activity, as well as for the direct consumption of the Japanese. The mWave technology could be part of the solution.

The development of a promising technology

What is mWave technology?

The mWave technology is a membrane-type wave energy converter on a concave cell. This works in such a way that the air-filled cell contracts under the pressure of the wave movement through the flexible membrane. The air expelled from the cell is agglomerated in a tube at the end of which a turbine is installed. The turbine is activated by the air current and drives a variable speed generator to generate electricity.

This system without upstream mechanical power input, the modular cell design and the longevity of the membrane materials ensure low maintenance costs and maximized energy production.

Technology being tested in Wales

Bombora is currently testing its system on a 1.5MW project in Wales. Installation is scheduled for mid-2021. In fact, perhaps it is still too early to imagine a massive deployment on the Japanese coast. On the other hand, it would shed light on the evolutionary potential of this British technology.

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