In August 2019 the first Italian 1: 1 scale device for the production of was officially inaugurated electricity from wave motion: the prototype, moored at 800 m from the coast of the island of Pantelleria and at a depth of 35 m, is the result of the ten-year work developed by the Polytechnic of Turin with the support of Enea and Iamc-Cnr and financed by the Piedmont and Sicily regions.
The project was born from the awareness of the enormous energy potential of wave motion as a renewable energy source, thanks to the continuity and distribution of the sea on the globe.
The technology is called ISWEC (Inertial Sea Wave Energy Converter). The developed system has a footprint of 8X15 m in plan and a height of 4,5 m, a draft of 3,2 m and therefore emerges from the surface of the sea for 1,3 m. The power plant is composed of a gyroscopic group housed inside a float moored on the seabed. The interaction between the waves of the sea, the hull and the gyroscopic system inside allows the generation of electricity to be fed into the grid.
In an initial phase of operation, the system will not be connected to the island's electrical network, but will dissipate on an array of resistances: the cable duct will then be laid and the distribution network will be connected thereafter.
The Iswec system will allow you to produce electricity at a more competitive cost than that needed to produce electricity on the island of Pantelleria. This technology is presented as a today valid complement to the energy mix of the smaller islands, Mediterranean and non-Mediterranean, which are not directly connected to the continental electricity grid. Polito and Wave for Energy aim to bring the cost of electricity production from the tidal source through the ISWEC grid parity system, i.e. the point where the electricity produced from renewable sources reaches the same price as the energy obtained from traditional sources, in order to become a new renewable energy source.