At the core or our PowerPod technology is Trident’s patented direct drive linear generator. Linear generators convert linear motion directly into electricity, without the need for intermediate systems such as gear boxes or hydraulic equipment.  The generator is simple and reliable which, when coupled with the cost advantages, make PowerPod II an attractive PTO technology for a wide variety of offshore energy applications.

Trident’s linear generator design is tubular.  With a cylindrical central magnet core and outer armature sleeve, made of simple annular copper ring windings, Trident’s design is easy to manufacture and highly scalable to suit specific applications.

The generator motion, captured from the movement of waves or tides, moves a set of wire coils up and down over the magnet stack. Electricity is generated in the coils as they pass through the magnetic field surrounding the stack. This electricity is conditioned for use by offshore infrastructure or fed into the National Grid.

Trident has also developed and built a detailed numerical model of the linear generator with support from the University of Edinburgh and Cambridge. The model has been validated through onshore prototype tests and provides highly accurate performance simulation. The numerical model forms the core of an optimisation routine which enables an easily re-configurable generator design process. The routine quickly explores design trade-offs within end user defined constraints and is used to design the optimal generator for a specific application.

More than just a linear generator

Offering full 4-quadrant control capabilities, Trident’s linear machine is more than just a generator; it is also a highly controllable, “damper” and “spring”.  Tuning WEC devices to individual wave conditions and matching force demands are key requirements in tuning the energy extraction to the ever-changing wave conditions.  Academic research into system control suggests significant improvement can be achieved in Wave Energy Converter (WEC) efficiency and energy capture levels through “Advanced Control”.

Trident’s linear generator design and EC&I is a fully configurable system architecture which opens the door to Advance Control of WEC devices. The company has designed, built and tested linear generator control systems,  and advanced “wave to wire” simulations, a world first which further builds on early collaborative work undertaken by Cambridge University.

Our technology is based on the following design principles:

Generic Our generators can be installed in any device with a linear power capture motion including point absorbing or oscillating surge type wave energy converters as well as the oscillating hydrofoil type of tidal energy converter.
Low cost and reliable
Simple design, one moving part and readily available and raw materials make our generator low cost to manufacture and reliable in operation.
Adaptable Modular design allows PowerPod to be adapted to a wide range of low and high energy wave climates around the world.
Efficient Energy conversion is direct, eliminating losses created by involving intermediate systems such as gearboxes or hydraulics.
Highly controllable The linear generator allows for real-time control of the generator as both a motor and a generator (four quadrant control). The ability to rapidly tune a device can greatly improve the energy capture. See our white paper on control

For further details on our technology development, see Research & Development.