Chris and Cameron attended the European Wave and Tidal Energy Conference (EWTEC) in Nantes, France last week (6-11 Sept). EWTEC is probably the premier research conference on wave and tidal energy in the world. The picture above is from the Tour Bretange, the tallest building in Nantes.
The conference in Nantes is the 11th in the bi-annual series of conferences. So far, they have been in Denmark, England, Sweden, Portugal, Scotland, Ireland and Greece. The next one in 2017 will be in Cork, Ireland, and in 2019 it will be in Naples, Italy. Recently, EWTEC has been spun off into a sister conference, the Asian Wave and Tidal Energy Conference (AWTEC), which has been held in Korea, Japan, and will be held in Singapore in 2016. Not bad places to go.
The focus of the conference is academic and industrial research and networking. Many attendees submit papers (which can be found here), which they present as slide shows or posters. In between presentations, there are coffee breaks and lunch, and In true French style, lunch was delicious and served with wine.
Cameron gave a presentation on experimental work from his PhD, in which he measured the wave field around (very) simple wave energy converters (WECs) and compared it to theory. The talk seemed to be well received. People asked questions, which is a good sign.
Networking is an important part of the conference. Each year, it gets bigger, but it is still a relatively small world, and so it is a chance to catch up with colleagues from different institutions, and form new relationships. Although as the conference grows, it becomes more difficult see everyone that one would like!
The networking (and fun) culminated at the Gala dinner held on Wednesday night at Les Machines de l'île, which is an artistic project where several ridable mechanical animals (bird, catapiller, ant, elephant) have been built. The giant elephant is certainly the most iconic and impressive. However, the picture above that we took, while being a little blurry, captures the essence and fun of the Machines de l'île and the whole evening.
The industrial presence was stronger this year than it has been, with several companies having stands. There were two very interesting newcomers (relatively new): INNOSEA and Wavepower.
INNOSEA is a marine energy consulting firm that spun off three years ago from the Ecole Centrale de Nantes. They are developing their own WEC software (InWave) and seemed to be involved in just about every project.
Wavepower is a new wave energy developer that actually has money! While many wave energy companies have arisen out of one or two concepts and went on to get funding through grants and investment, Wavepower was formed by investors (they have £50 million of funding) and is looking for the right technology to take through to commercialization. For Mocean Energy, as a potential developer, it is refreshing to see investor interest.
It was an exciting and packed week. Both Chris and Cameron took a few extra days holiday to spend in France. But construction of the 1/50th scale model calls and we'll be back in the workshop next week.
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