AWS Waveswing | Working to scale

What is AWS Waveswing?

The AWS Waveswing is a sub-sea wave power buoy that generates electrical energy from ocean waves. It is being developed by AWS Ocean Energy. The company’s aim is to produce a renewable, invisible, reliable and affordable alternative to diesel power for maritime communities. The Waveswing reacts to changes in sub-sea water pressure created by waves and converts this motion to electricity via a direct-drive generator.  The system is suitable for deployment in water depths in excess of 25m and can be configured for ratings between 25kW and 250kW.

The Business Need

In 2016 AWS (Waveswing America) qualified for the American wave energy prize. Their conceptual design and computational models quickly progressed through the early rounds of the competition. As they reached the later stages of the competition they needed to build physical models for tank testing. First a 1:50 scale model was required, then a 1:20 model was needed in order for AWS to contest the final.

Our Activities and Deliverables

AWS chose to partner with 4c to extend their mechanical design and model making capabilities. The Wave Energy prize was an excellent example of the 4c offices working together to deliver a turnkey service. Front end engineering design and CAD development was carried out by the 4c Engineering team in Inverness. The model builds and commissioning test rigs were project managed and delivered by the 4c Design workshop in Glasgow.

The Result

We successfully delivered the Waveswing 1:20 model under tight time and budget constraints to meet the U.S. Wave Energy Prize deadlines. AWS subsequently commissioned the model at Iowa University utilising our bespoke calibration rig: we had designed this rig to to pack flat for transport. After a fortnight of commissioning and optimisation by AWS at Iowa, the model was shipped to the US Navy’s test tank in Cardrock (one of the biggest in the world) where it was put through its paces by the judges of the Wave Energy Prize. With 91 competing companies, AWS walked away with $250,000 in prize money. 

“…every time we go to 4c with a problem, we get something back that we can use that adds to the core value of our business.”

Simon Grey – Chief Executive at AWS Ocean Energy


Capabilities Utilised

  • Concept development
  • Industrial design
  • Mechanical engineering
  • Rough prototyping
  • Field trials
  • Design for manufacture
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