The 1973 oil crises triggered a movement among inventors, particularly in Scandinavia, to start thinking about alternative energy sources and ways to generate electricity from such alternative sources. The ideas of utilizing the energy in wind and waves – although not new at the time – seemed particularly intriguing and were two areas of special interest and many new solutions were presented and tested.
Our consultancy company InterProject Service [IPS] was started right in this time period and one of the first requests to the company came from a couple of engineers, previous colleagues of mine. They had applied for a Swedish patent for a simple device to generate electricity from the vertical motion of waves in lakes or the ocean, now they needed financial support and guidance to apply for international patents.
We were fascinated by the idea and even though their first ideas never proved patentable we continued to work on the concept. Through our contacts at the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm we got access to a wave tank were the first simple practical tests were performed. These early tests and the introduction to newly appointed Professor Anders Norén lead us to a new idea – the invention of the acceleration tube. Additional studies and testing would show the acceleration tube to be a very significant improvement and the patent that followed cover what we still to this day consider the signature feature of the IPS-buoy and now the WaveEL Buoy.
At the same period of time the first contacts were made with Professor Curt Falkemo at Chalmers University of Technology (CTH) in Göteborg were we knew a lot of experience was available from wave research with buoys – such as navigation and mooring buoys. News to us however was the fact that Prof. Falkemo just a year prior had started the work on a book “Vågenergiboken” (“The Wave Energy Book” which was published sometime later in 1980) about ideas of buoy shaped wave power systems. We also learned about a new research group – “The Group for Wave Energy Research” that was being formed at CTH. The group received governmental support for investigating and researching, among other things, the feasibility of utilizing wave power systems for the island of Gotland in the Baltic Sea.
Soon thereafter The Group for Wave Energy Research formed into the consultancy company Technocean AB – with essentially the same group of people from CTH forming the company. They continued the work with evaluating Gotland but also took on the task to help IPS to perform the first 1/5th scale testing in Lake Lygnern south of Göteborg in the summer of 1979. In parallel with the IPS trials a different wave power device developed by Svenska Varv AB (Swedish Shipyards) was also tested by Technocean at the same site in Lake Lygnern.