This paper describes a development and evaluation protocol that has been specifically adapted for the advancement of wave energy devices. The basis of the schedule is similar to that established by NASA and widely used by many engineering research establishments in other fields. It is geared towards the actual converter evolution and improvement rather than any of the equally important generic aspects of wave energy extraction, such as resource investigation, site surveys, electrical grid location, planning, permissions and licensing etc. These latter criteria are considerations that will be both country and national policy dependant and will become important following on from this development programme, when a device is ready for the economic demonstration stage (Phase 5). It also concentrates on physical modelling techniques rather than mathematical procedures. It is highly recommended, however, that theoretical or numerical methods are pursued in parallel with the empirical approach outline in the following.
The paper is based on a full document that was produced for the Marine Institute of Ireland and can be found at www.marine.ie It has also been adopted by Sustainable Energy Ireland as a working report when evaluating developers device proposals and planning future wave energy research activities. However, it is extremely important to acknowledge that following the recommended programme is no guarantee to producing a successful WEC. Rather it offers an opportunity since not adopting such a scheme will undoubtedly ensure that an invention has limited potential to progress to an acceptable conclusion. The early phases of the schedule are very important for investigating the numerous optimisation options that most devices have, before the activities advance to the more difficult and expensive prototype phases.
The illustrations used in this paper also represent the accompany presentation. This approach has been taken so both documents are supplied at the same time.