Annual Report 2016
Country Reports


Luca Benedetti Gestore dei Servizi Energetici - GSE S.p.A.


Key players involved in research regarding the exploitation of marine energy to produce energy are universities and research centres. Among these, the University of Naples “Federico II” is distinguished for its GEM project started in 2003. In fact, the public/private consortium SEAPOWER Scrl (, formed by a private company and the University of Naples, thanks to the collaboration between ADAG applied research group of the Department of Industrial Engineering, University of Naples Federico II and Eng. Nicola Giorgio Morrone, developed one of the most attractive projects of the last period in the field of renewable energy production using marine sources, GEM: The Ocean’s Kite (

The SEAPOWER public/private consortium is waiting for the final permit to set up and manage a real test field laboratory in the Strait of Messina, open to Italian and foreign companies for testing their tidal current devices. The laboratory will provide assistance in deploying the devices, data handling and certification for the prototypes installed and tested in the area available to the consortium. The consortium is waiting for the final permit to build the laboratory.

Umbra Cuscinetti S.p.A., parent company of Umbra Group (, is an Italian manufacturing company leader in the production of ballscrews, bearings, rotary generators and Electro-Mechanical Actuators (EMAs) for aeronautical, industrial and energy applications. Through a conscious technology transfer strategy and based on the EMAs architecture, Umbra has been developing an Electro-Mechanical Generator (EMG) for converting linear motion into electricity. Such technology is required by a wide range of ocean energy systems and is a step change innovation in the Power Take-Off (PTO) application. The EMG is based on the integration of a ballscrew, which converts linear motion into rotary motion, and a permanent magnet generator, which converts rotary motion into electricity. This compact and robust design results in a reliable and efficient product that is currently under development for different power ratings (from 2 kW to 250 kW) and working environments (EMG completely submerged in marine water, acting above the sea surface or acting in a protected environment). The EMG is entirely designed, manufactured and assembled inside the facilities of Umbra and relies on existing tools/processes and an established supply chain.

The development of the REWEC energy conversion technology is underway at University Mediterranea from Reggio Calabria. The first full scale prototype of a U-Oscillating Water Column (U-OWC), whose industrial name is REWEC3 (Resonant Wave Converter, type3), is currently under construction in the Port of Civitavecchia (Rome).

Among research centres, CNR (Italian National Research Council) and ENEA (National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development) are involved in several projects and collaborative programmes to support the development and demonstration of key technologies. Some of these projects are mentioned in the following sections.

In 2016, Umbra has been involved in a number of projects related to ocean energy:

  • International project “ReBaS – Recirculating BallScrew generator” - Wave Energy Scotland call for Innovative PTO solutions, Stage 2 (2015-2016): In this project, Umbra has designed and manufactured a 12 kW (rated power) EMG prototype for wave energy applications together with a point-pivoted Wave Energy Converter (WEC) buoy. The PTO prototype undertook both performance and extended dry tests at Umbra’s facilities, and wave tank tests at the University of Naples “Federico II”, where it was connected to the WEC. During these activities, the EMG measured average efficiency was in the range 70%-87% for all the tested conditions and resulted to be independent of the wave peak frequency and spectrum shape. Furthermore, the EMG survived load ratios up to 15 and performed more than 2 million cycles without showing signs of wear or damage. The project was developed in collaboration with SeaPower Scarl and Hebrides Marine Services Ltd., collecting knowledge Umbra acquired in the design of EMG and WECs through previous national and regional funded projects. Now, Umbra Group is preparing an application for transition to Stage 3, which foresees sea trials of a 90 kW WEC.

  • Regional project “WE-BACK” - Legislative Decree 598/94 Umbria Region (2015-2017): In this project, Umbra is undertaking further R&D activity on the EMG. In particular, activities concerning the development of critical components, design methods for high loads and number of cycles, solutions for resistance in marine environment. A list of the projects that Politecnico di Torino (POLITO) has managed/currently manages along with a brief description
    regarding the objectives of each project is given below:
  • National project “GENERA” - H2020 – PON MISE National Operative Plan of the Italian Ministry for Economic Development (2017-2019): Within this project, Umbra Group will conduct feasibility studies concerning the application of the EMG for wave energy, tidal energy and energy recovery from vibration damping. Concerning wave energy, the installation of a 60 kW EMG prototype coupled with a point-pivoted buoy along the Italian coast of Campania is also planned. One of the main goals of the project is to develop appropriate hardware and software solutions for an advanced and efficient control of the EMG power generation. The project is in collaboration with SeaPower Scarl and Electro Motor Solutions Srl.

Besides these above-mentioned R&D projects, the Enel Green Power (EGP) group is supporting other relevant initiative, as following:

  • SEAWARD (H2020 LCE-15-2016) - SEtting up An optimal WEC Array configuration for Real environment Demonstration: the SEAWARD project aims to demonstrate the commercial attractiveness of Inertial Sea Energy Converters (ISWEC) through the design, manufacturing and demonstration of an array of 5 machines in the Canary Islands.
  • SUBLIME (CEF Transport 2016 - Connecting Europe Facilities) - SUstainable port moBiLity through the Implementation of WaveSax Marine Energy technology in European ports (SUBLIME): the Global project consists of the development of the “ecological MoS terminals” by implementing the innovative WaveSax technology for the production of energy from renewable sources (marine waves), within the harbour.

Other R&D European funded projects:

  • SINGULAR (FP7-ENERGY-2012) - Smart and Sustainable Insular Electricity Grids Under Large-Scale Renewable Integration - A large share of the recent renewable energy sources (RES) installed capacity has already taken place in insular electricity grids, since these regions are preferable due to their high RES potential. However, the increasing share of RES in the generation mix of insular power systems presents a big challenge in the efficient management of the insular distribution networks, mainly due to the limited predictability and the high variability of renewable generation, features that make RES plants non-dispatchable, in conjunction with the relevant small size of these networks.

    The Smart Grid Initiative, integrating advanced sensing technologies, intelligent control methods and bi-directional communications into the contemporary electricity grid, provides excellent opportunities for energy efficiency improvements and better integration of distributed generation, including RES, such as wind and photovoltaic systems, coexisting with centralized generation units within an active network. POLITO is studying the possible integration of wave energy production in various applications to grid connected renewable energy generation.
  • MaRINET (2011–2015; coordinated by Cork University College (Ireland), gathered 28 among leading European Institutions with recognised expertise and testing capabilities for ocean energy systems. A key action within MaRINET has been the Trans-national Access (TNA) mechanisms, with hundreds of programmes receiving grants for device testing in one of the 48 facilities made available by project partners. Italy contributed to this project with three partners (CNR-INSEAN, University of Firenze and University of Tuscia), that hosted several TNA programmes. Italy was also among the countries with the largest number of TNA programme applications during the project.