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31/12/2017 - End of the UNDIGEN MAS project

The CIEMAT ends the project UNDIGEN MAS (Autonomous Marine System), corresponding to the call Challenges Collaboration of the Ministry of Economy, Industry and Competitiveness 2014. The project has developed an energy storage system, based on supercapacitor technology, for its integration into the measurement, surveillance and communication systems of the marine environment installed on autonomous buoys that work with wave energy (wave energy).

The CIEMAT, and in particular the Electric Power Systems Unit, which already has an important trajectory in the conversion of wave energy into electrical energy since 2011, having participated in projects such as UNDIGEN, BRAKING WEDGE, ATLANTIC POWER CLUSTER, SMARTWEC and UNDIGEN MAS. During these projects, technologies and methodologies have been developed related to the generation and storage of energy associated with oceanic energies and their integration into electricity networks, specifically the devices called point absorbers. This has significantly increased the capabilities of CIEMAT in the field of renewable energy, one of the hallmarks of the house.

Specifically, the UNDIGEN MAS project (RTC-2014-2156-3), of the Call for Collaboration Challenges of the Ministry of Economy 2014, Industry and Competitiveness (MINECO), was endowed with € 430k for the adaptation of the prototype of the energetic generation developed during the UNDIGEN project, so that it can provide a supply to meteo-oceanic measurement systems, marine monitoring and communication systems installed in autonomous buoys, providing it with a storage system that allows the management of the generated energy. In this project have participated, in addition to the CIEMAT, the companies WEDGE GLOBAL S.L and SAES S.A., as well as the Oceanic Platform of the Canary Islands (PLOCAN).

Buoy developed in the UNDIGEN project

Buoy developed in the UNDIGEN project

The Unit has participated in the UNDIGEN MAS project developing the design of the energy storage system, as well as its control strategy, which is necessary to ensure a constant supply of power to the equipment shipped in the measuring buoy, and to achieve the conditioning of the oscillating and irregular power that comes from the waves and that serves as an electrical supply for said equipment.

Furthermore, the CIEMAT has carried out an important stage of tests in the laboratory during the project, where a multipurpose test bench has been developed that is able to operate, on the one hand, the power supply that comes from the energy collector of the surf and, on the other hand, the load corresponding to the measurement equipment, including the storage system that operates with its corresponding control strategies. As a prototype of the energy storage system, a device has been developed based on 60 individual supercapacitor cells of 2.7 V and 3000 F each one, implementing a commercial equalization system and developing an individual monitoring system for each of the cells . The supercapacitors are a very suitable technology for this application that have high power density and they are adequate for high power and low energy levels, coinciding with what is required in this case.

Laboratory test bench

Laboratory test bench

The tests have allowed to emulate in a controlled work environment the different situations that can occur in the real system, with other sea states and different load configurations, also validating the design of the storage system, as well as its control strategies. This is a very important previous step to the installation of the system in the final device for its implementation that saves many hours of work and economic cost.

This test bench has an important utility for subsequent developments related to the integration in red of a generation of electrical energy with renewable energies and with the analysis of energy storage systems.

Summary graph of results obtained in the UNDIGEN MAS project

Summary graph of results obtained in the UNDIGEN MAS project