“Spain is a strategic market for the expansion of  Eco Wave Power operations”

Eco Wave Power

Eco Wave Power’s technology uses floats that extract energy from waves and converts their upward and downward movements into a clean energy generation process. Specifically, the movement of the floats compresses and decompresses the hydraulic pistons that transmit biodegradable hydraulic fluid to the accumulators located on land. Pressure is stored in the accumulators that turns a hydraulic motor, which then turns the generator. Finally, the electricity is transferred to the grid through a converter.

After decompression, the fluid returns to the hydraulic fluid tank, where it is then reused by the pistons. This creates a closed circular system. The system starts to produce electricity from wave heights of 0.5 metres.

The entire operation of the system is controlled and monitored using an intelligent automation system. When waves are too high for the system to handle, the floats automatically rise above water level and remain in that position until the storm passes. Once the storm is over, the floats return to operating mode.

Inna Braverman (CEO and co-founder) worked as a translator in a renewable energy company, developing her passion for clean electricity from waves. David Leb (co-founder) is a serial entrepreneur with a number of successful exits and real estate investments. One of these investments was a surf hotel in Panama. During a hotel refurbishment there, he observed the power of the waves and thought, “there must be something better to do with the power of the waves than water sports”. Inna and David met by chance at a social event where they discovered they shared the same passion: wave energy. That is how Eco Wave Power was born.

The company is now part of the ICEX-Invest in Spain’s Rising UP in Spain programme, focused on attracting foreign entrepreneurs who want to establish themselves and grow in Spain. The selected startups receive resources to develop their business in Spain. El Referente talked to the founders of Eco Wave about their establishment in Spain, their goals for 2022, their technology, etc.

What made you want to settle in Spain?

Spain is an ideal location for wave energy projects, and thus for the establishment of Eco Wave Power.

Spain established the National Integrated Energy and Climate Plan for 2030 that, among other measures, establishes a 74% share of renewable energy in the electricity industry, in line with a trajectory towards a 100% renewable electricity industry by 2050. The country has developed a huge renewable energy industry and provides extensive support for innovative sustainable projects. 

In addition to the country’s support for renewable energies, Spain has around 28 state-owned ports and many other marinas and marine infrastructure where Eco Wave Power technology could be installed along the more than 8000 km of coastline.

What role has ICEX’s Rising UP in Spain played in this incursion?

Rising Up in Spain contributed greatly to Eco Wave Power by helping us to enter the Spanish market and:

1. Providing legal advice to help understand the process for developing wave energy projects in Spain.

2. Facilitating introductions with partners and potential customers of interest to our company.

3. Enabling high visibility within the Spanish market through the Demo Day and various events and initiatives.

Spain is a strategic market for the expansion of Eco Wave Power’s operations and the fact that our company has participated in Rising Up in Spain has allowed us to continue implementing the projects we have in our portfolio in this market, as well as including additional projects.

Why is it important to have this kind of support when entering a market?

The support provided by Rising Up in Spain has been extremely helpful for us to enter the Spanish market efficiently. 

If you’re a foreign company and don’t have a major network in Spain, or knowledge of the market, the process can be challenging.

Rising UP in Spain has made it simpler for us to discuss potential collaborations with the right people without even having to fly to Spain. They also provide mentors with experience in the market and information on the Spanish energy market. It’s also a great chance for us to participate in events and initiatives allowing validation and visibility in Spain. 

What potential does Spain have for this type of technology that youve created?

Spain has huge potential for the deployment of wave energy projects along its more than 8,000 kilometres of coastline. 

According to the Association of Renewable Energy Companies (APPA), Spain could cover 20% of its electricity consumption  with wave energy alone. Ocean Energy Europe has estimated that Europe could generate 188 GW of energy by 2050, which is 10% of the region’s electricity needs.

The installation of Eco Wave Power technology, which converts sea and ocean waves into renewable energy, represents a great opportunity for Spain to meet its goal of achieving Net Zero by 2050 and 100% electrification of ports with renewable sources by 2030. . 

How was the development exactly?

The development of the Eco Wave Power technology started in 2011. We started working on the original design of the technology in a wave tank at the hydromechanical institute in Kiev, moving forward to test a pilot of a 10 kW version of the technology in real conditions in the Black Sea. 

Following this test, we installed an R&D station in the Jaffa Port in Israel. The aim was to further develop the technology, which was recognised by the Israeli Ministry of Energy as a pioneering. 

We later successfully deployed a 100 kW grid-connected wave energy pilot project. This pilot plant, located in Gibraltar on a former military jetty, is the only wave energy system in the world that is connected to the grid through a power purchase agreement (PPA). The wave energy system has been validated and the Gibraltar project has served to improve efficiency and reduce the costs of operating and maintaining the technology. 

Following the achievements mentioned above, we have continued to work on technology and the development of new projects. In this way, we have been able to secure a project portfolio of more than 325 MW globally. These include the expansion of the project in the Jaffa Port in partnership with energy company EDF Renewables IL; a concession agreement for a project of up to 20 MW in the Portuguese port of APDL, for which the installation permit and grid connection for the first 1 MW has been secured; and letters of support provided by major Spanish ports such as Valencia, Bilbao, Barcelona and Las Palmas.

Eco Wave Power currently has 17 patents and patents pending protecting its innovative technology.

How do you differ from other clean electricity proposals? 

Wave energy, and Eco Wave Power technology in particular, offers several advantages.

Wave energy is an abundant renewable energy source that could generate twice as much energy as the world currently consumes according to the World Energy Council. It also offers several significant advantages over other renewable energy sources; for example, it is available at night. In many wavy locations around the world, wave energy can be produced 24 hours a day. Another advantage of wave energy is that it contains a huge amount of kinetic energy. This is because it is 832 times denser than air. The result is being able to produce more electricity with smaller production devices, which take up less space.

One of the major benefits of wave energy is that it enables power generation in close proximity to population centres. About 40% of the world’s population lives within 100 km of a coastline. In addition, most of the world’s megacities are located near a coast. In fact, eight of the world’s ten largest cities are located along a coast. Our proposal would mean a reduction in energy transmission costs.

However, wave energy hasn’t been successful in commercialisation because most wave energy companies have chosen to install their wave energy systems offshore (typically 4-5 km out to sea). This is why they have historically had difficulties in commercialising their technologies:

1. High costs. Offshore installations are extremely expensive and complicated. The process requires boats, divers, underwater cabling and underwater mooring.

2. Low reliability. Offshore wave power plants are exposed to extreme wave heights, reaching 20 metres. Fixed man-made equipment is not capable of surviving or avoiding such forces. 

3. Uninsurable. Due to the high prices and unreliability of offshore wave energy technology, no insurance company has agreed to insure such stations. 

4. Environmental impact. Offshore wave power plants must be connected to the ocean floor, disturbing the marine environment and its surroundings.  

Eco Wave Power’s nearshore/onshore wave energy system, which utilises existing marine infrastructure, has enabled the company to avoid these difficulties. Our technology is: 

1. Affordable. Our technology has attractive construction and production costs that are significantly lower than those of offshore competitors. Eco Wave Power installation and O&M activities don’t require the use of boats, divers, underwater cabling or moorings.

2.Fiable. Eco Wave Power’s technology is highly reliable as most of the cost of the system is onshore. Only the float mechanisms are in the water. Therefore, the Eco Wave Power conversion unit is not in an aggressive marine environment. In addition, company also uses a storm protection mechanism, which prevents damage to the floats during storms.

3. Fully insurable. The low CAPEX and high reliability associated with the Eco Wave Power system have enabled us to obtain insurance for its power plants. The company’s facilities in Gibraltar and Israel are insured by leading insurance companies.

4. Environmentally friendly. The Eco Wave Power system is 100% environmentally friendly. It doesn’t connect to the ocean floor and therefore doesn’t damage the ecosystem.

What is the status of your project in Israel, the place where you were born?

EWP’s project in the Jaffa Port in Israel was originally installed in 2014 and was used as the company’s R&D facility. The project in the Jaffa Port is currently under expansion and will be the first wave power plant in Israel to be connected to the electricity grid. The Jaffa Port is the oldest seaport in the world, making it a special site for this highly innovative project. 

The project is being developed in partnership with EDF Renewables IL (a subsidiary of the French national electricity company) and is co-financed by the Israeli Ministry of Energy. Eco Wave Power has completed work on the reinforcement of the breakwater, the assembly and installation of the power conversion unit and is currently working to finalise the construction and installation of the floats.

What did winning the Frost & Sullivan Product Innovation Award mean to you?

Frost & Sullivan is a globally recognised organisation and winning the award for product innovation at an early stage of the company was a major milestone in advancing our business development journey. 

How much energy can Eco Wave Power produce?

Eco Wave Power offers a huge potential to make it possible to generate energy from waves in an efficient way.

Our oceans and seas, which cover 71% of the planet’s surface, are an abundant source of renewable energy. According to the World Energy Council, our oceans can produce twice as much energy as the world currently produces.

For its part, the successful development of wave technology in the European market can generate 188 GW, 10% of Europe’s electricity needs in 2050. Spain could in turn cover 20% of its electricity consumption with wave energy.

Our technology has the potential to make a significant impact on energy transition.

Who are your customers? What is your business model like?

Eco Wave Power often collaborates in project developments with organisations such as port authorities, marinas, coastal cities, islands, renewable energy project developers and energy companies. 

We have three potential sources of income: 

1. BOO (Build, Own, Operate). We own the project; this revenue model means that the company will finance and provide the operation and maintenance of the power plant. The electricity that is produced will be sold to the grid in line with a long-term PPA (up to 25 years). 

2. BOT (Build, Own, Transfer). Eco Wave Power finances and builds the power plant, and then sells the energy to a third party. The project’s long-term, fixed-price revenue under the PPAs are expected to be attractive to institutional investors.

3. Joint Venture or turnkey. We either sell the projects to third parties at a profit margin or collaborate with strategic partners or investors who are willing to share the project risk with the company in the form of a Joint Venture collaboration. 

In short, the company can generate revenue from the sale of power plants, electricity or the licensing of technology to joint venture partnerships.

Where are you in terms of funding? What support have you had so far?

Eco Wave Power is a publicly traded company and its ordinary shares (ECOWVE) are traded on the Nasdaq First North, and Eco Wave Power ADSs (WAVE) are traded on the Nasdaq Capital Market.

What were your goals for 2021? Have you achieved them?

Eco Wave Power’s goals for 2021 were:

1. Work on the commissioning of the second grid-connected power plant, which is an improved and upgraded version of our technology, which will be officially operational and connected to the grid in the coming months in collaboration with our partners EDF Renewables IL and the investment of the Israeli Ministry of Energy. The plant will also be the first time in Israel’s history that wave energy will be officially connected to the national electricity grid. 

2. Expand our project portfolio. We currently have 325.7 MW of potential projects in our portfolio, with new projects being added continuously. 

3. Work on grant opportunities, which will allow us to strengthen our technological advantages, while leveraging the funding the company has secured. We were able to secure several high-level grants, including one from Innovate UK, which we submitted jointly with Queen Mary University of London, and a grant as part of the ILIAD consortium from the European Green Deal. 

4. Dual listing of the company on the US Nasdaq and, as of 1 July 2021, we are proud to be listed on Nasdaq Stockholm.

We are pleased to share that we have achieved the above goals. 

What are your plans for 2022?

The company’s main goal for 2022 is to move towards marketing and rapid growth, continuing with the implementation of our projects in Israel and Portugal; we also want to consolidate the projects we have in the pipeline in Spain and elsewhere in the world.