AMOG Consulting is an award-winning team of consulting engineers, project managers and technicians, based in Australia and with offices in the UK, USA, Malaysia and Colombia.
Founded in 1991, AMOG originally provided consulting services to the offshore oil and gas industry. Over the last 20 years, the company has diversified to deliver services to new sectors such as offshore renewable energy, the civil maritime industry, and the heavy transport industry. The company delivers industry-leading scientific and engineering expertise to projects of any scale and their goal is to be the leading specialist engineering service provider in their chosen fields.
A technology arm has also grown over the last five years, where technology has been developed, licensed to large manufacturers and successfully sold in the marketplace.
Wave energy expertise
Wave energy is an area in which the company has developed significant expertise and the team have worked together to invent the concept for a revolutionary new kind of Wave Energy Convertor (WEC).
Director of Research and Development, Hayden Marcollo says: “Our expertise in offshore renewables allowed us to bring a unique understanding to the conceptual development of a new technology. It seemed to us that the major failings of previous projects have been related to reliability, survivability and cost of installation. We have found a way to address these issues by eliminating mechanical components below the waterline and ensuring the system is moored conventionally requiring low cost infrastructure. Crucially, our design, installation and project execution depend heavily on the lessons learned and best practices from the fifty year old offshore oil and gas industry.”
An ideal region for testing
When looking at options for testing the innovative device, Cornwall stood out as a world beating location for the team.
Director David Rowley explains: “We considered other potential testing locations, including in Australia, but Cornwall stood out as having a number of clear advantages for us. Firstly, the weather conditions in Cornwall mean that there is a more consistent wave pattern. Secondly, the infrastructure in Cornwall and Plymouth for marine testing is highly developed and advanced – the county offers first class testing facilities that are already proven, as well as a superb supply chain in the marine technology sector. And lastly, the availability of grant funding and other support through Marine-i has enabled us to accelerate the project.”
The design of AMOG’s WEC is based on the principles of Dynamic Vibration Absorbers (also known as Tuned Mass Dampers) which have been used in many technologies since the early 1900s, including car engines, bridges, cable structures, and even hand-held electrical shavers. In the case of the WEC, the system is tuned to maximise power from incoming waves, extracting energy from the pendulum damping via electromotive force, rather than damping the response of the hull.
Marine-i have provided grant funding for the AMOG team to carry out comprehensive testing of their wave energy convertor.
Model testing at University of Plymouth’s COAST Lab
The University of Plymouth COAST Lab supported the AMOG WEC in performing larger scale model tests in their ocean basin. The COAST Lab Ocean Basin is 35m long by 15.5m wide with a moveable floor that allows different operating depths of up to 3m. This basin can be used to create unidirectional and directional wave fields, regular waves, wave spectra and currents in three dimensions, putting it at the forefront of testing for marine renewable energy arrays. The COAST Lab Ocean Basin is much larger than any equivalent facility available to AMOG in Australia.
Dr Martyn Hann, Lecturer in Coastal Engineering at University of Plymouth explains: “In April 2019, two weeks of testing were conducted at COAST Lab using a 1/12 scale model of the device deployed at FabTest. The primary aim was to use this model testing facility to provide a more detailed calibration of the WEC numerical models. In particular short-crested seas can be studied in this facility. University of Plymouth’s COAST Lab was able to replicate at scale the sea conditions that the AMOG device would need to operate in.
“The tests at COAST Lab were successful in verifying the numerical models underpinning the development and showed that the WEC behaved in the way that had been predicted.
“Following on from the COAST Lab tests, the plan was to deploy a technology demonstrator device at the University of Exeter’s FaBTest site. The device required towing from the place of fabrication in Pembroke Docks to the deployment site in Falmouth. Therefore, as part of the COAST Lab trials, tests were run to see how the device would behave under towing conditions. These gave reassurance to the towing contractor that the operation could be carried out smoothly.”
While the above trials were taking place, an open day was held at University of Plymouth’s COAST Lab to show the facility in action, including ‘live testing’ of the AMOG device in the Coastal Basin. Lead Engineer Jon Gumley of AMOG gave a presentation on the device, helping to promote wider understanding of the challenges facing WEC developers and encouraging other businesses in the marine supply chain in the South West to engage with the project.
Overseeing the tests at COAST Lab was AMOG’s recently recruited Project Engineer, Peter Mazurenko. Peter had joined the company thanks to the support of the Marine-i Graduate Support Scheme. With the help of Marine-i partner Falmouth Marine School, AMOG successfully recruited Peter from a large pool of well qualified and skilled candidates.
Peter Mazurenko said: “COAST Lab is a unique facility and a real asset to the South West. Being able to use this world class facility helped us verify our modelling and progress to the next stage. What’s more, the University of Plymouth staff were hands-on and able to give us great advice. The support was invaluable in helping us accelerate our innovation.”
Sea trials at FaBTest
In summer 2019, the 1:3 scale technology demonstrator device was tested at the University of Exeter FabTest site in Falmouth, a ‘nursery’ test site for wave energy convertors. The site offers the opportunity for the device to be tested in a sheltered location for a summer season deployment, in order to have a scaled environment.
The AMOG team have commented that a deployment site equivalent to FaBTest located in Australia would take approximately 5 years to organize the necessary permits.
On the 15th August 2019, the AMOG WEC produced first power. After a number of challenges were overcome, including some extreme weather conditions, the pendulum was set swinging in the waves and measured power was produced.
In the words of Peter Mazurenko: "It is testament to AMOG and our team of sub-contractors that the mechanical and electrical design worked as intended first time round. It also demonstrated the value of conducting the exhaustive tests at COAST Lab.”
An important step forward for wave energy
The launch and generation of first power from this device is the culmination of thousands of hours of wave energy research, hydrodynamic analysis, structural design, hull fabrication, and electrical integration work.
This successful test has yielded a mass of valuable data that will help AMOG thoroughly assess the commercial viability of their technology. It will enable AMOG to analyse various aspects of the product design and its integration, providing confidence in the design and operation before scaling up to a full size version connected to the grid in the next test phase.
Jon Gumley says: “We believe this is an highly innovative wave energy device that is robust as it has been developed using well-understood engineering principles. We hope this technology will make a real impact in the wave energy sector across the globe. Being able to test this product in Cornwall and at the University of Plymouth, with support from Marine-i, is really helping us drive our project forward.”
The impact of Marine-i
Marine-i has provided a comprehensive package of support that has helped to underpin this important technological advance. This has comprised a Marine Challenge Fund grant, model testing at University of Plymouth’s COAST Lab, deployment at University of Exeter’s FaBTest site, and a skilled graduate in place thanks to the help of the Marine-i Graduate Support Scheme. Throughout the process, the AMOG team have had ongoing business assistance from the specialists at Cornwall Marine Network. In addition, Marine-i has organised a ‘Meet the Buyer’ day to introduce key players in the local marine supply chain to the AMOG team and their technology, so that they can play their full part in providing new solutions for its successful development.
Professor Lars Johanning of University of Exeter, lead partner for Marine-i says: “We are delighted to support AMOG’s development of wave energy technology in Cornwall. The successful commercialisation of this technology could have a massive impact on our local economy and, indeed, on the wider UK economy.”
Dr Martyn Hann of University of Plymouth comments: “Research through COAST Lab is helping this innovative company move forward and realise its ambitions. It is great that we have been able to help accelerate the product development.”
Peter Mazurenko adds: “The whole AMOG team is very grateful for the expert support that we have had from the Marine-i project. We are now pressing ahead with the next stage of development and could potentially have a commercial scale device operating offshore during the summer of 2020, which is a very exciting prospect.”
For more information about AMOG’s WEC please contact Hayden Marcollo, Director, firstname.lastname@example.org