Abagold Wave Energy Converter Project

Whale Coast Conservation (WCC) is delighted to inform you that Abagold has been given the environmental authorisation to go ahead with their pilot project to harness wave energy right here in Hermanus. Dr. Pierre Hugo, who developed the project, will tell us all about it at the WCC monthly meeting on 30 July at 17h30 at the Green House.

Interested persons are invited to attend this fascinating lecture on the future of renewable energy technology – conceived right here in Hermanus. Premier Helen Zille recently stated that the Province is not in favour of nuclear energy and that renewable, sustai-nable energy is the way to go. Come and be part of the thinking for the future. Dr Hugo, who developed the project, writes: “The principle of the slot-slope concept is to allow a wave to run up a sloped ramp and then to capture the retur-ning water by means of slots embedded in the ramp as the wave recedes. Abagold’s unique design is based on the retention of the water passing through each slot in the sloped wall by a simple, but robust non-return flap (valve). The water is retained in a common buffer storage dam, which is the key to the success of Abagold’s specific application. This allows the water to be returned to the sea smoothly through submerged, slowly rotating, quiet, fish-friendly turbines.

The recent leap in developments with regard to these “run of the river” very low head turbines ensures that we will be able to utilise the majority of smaller waves more effectively. Power storage, utilisation of a broad range of wave sizes and good efficiency are built-in characteristics of the unique combination of technologies. Structural integrity is enhanced by the weight of the water inside the buffer dam, ensuring survivability during extreme storm events. The Sloped wall of the buffer dam is made of precast concrete sections which will be placed sequentially on top of one another, being bonded by metal rebar moulded into the concrete that binds them together. This layer for layer construction technique ensures structural integrity of the wall during all stages of construction. With moderate 2,5m waves this Wave Energy Converter will be able to generate nearly 4MW with extremely low visual impact and negligible environmental impact. Substantial public participation was done and the major stepping stone of Environmental approval has been obtained from the National Department of Environmental Affairs.

Abagold has spent four years integrating this group of proven technologies and has done extensive hydraulic modeling in their 14m wave tank. This project represents the first of its kind in South Africa as well as globally. We feel that it has the potential to form part of South Africa’s energy solution … the proof of the pudding lies in the Pilot WEC for which we now await the Lease of the sea agreement from Cape Nature and the necessary concession agreement from Department of Public Works.” 

Whale Coast Conservation