In this paper, technical and economical studies conducted on the SEAREV Wave Energy Converter (WEC) are presented. This technology was first proposed in 2002 with the aim of addressing critical challenges in wave energy conversion. It consists of a closed floating hull in which a heavy pendulum oscillates. The controlled relative motion of the pendulum is used to produce electricity.
The SEAREV WEC was developed over twelve years. Through the development process, three main generations of the technology were defined and studied in detail. They are presented in the paper, showing how each new generation brought significant improvements over the previous generation with respect to production and costs.
In 2013, an economical model for wave energy farms was developed to assess the viability and competitiveness of the SEAREV technology. Although results show that the SEAREV technology is a sound technical solution, the cost of energy projection is still too high to allow direct access to mass electricity market in European countries in the short term.
Finally, in light of the lessons learned from the SEAREV WEC development, the need for innovative technologies with higher technology performance level (TPL) or alternative markets is discussed in the context of wave energy.