The OBREC is a novel technology of Overtopping Wave Energy Converter embedded into a traditional coastal and harbour structure defences.
In the last twenty years, a large part of the scientific
community has been involved in the development of new
technologies able to exploit the energy from the ocean. Only recently a new idea has been presented with the aim to reduce the cost of the device and also increasing their feasibility. This innovation consists of the integration of a Wave Converter into new or existing coastal structure. The main purposes of these “hybrid maritime structures” still remain the
coastal/harbour protection from the wave motion, with the relevant added-value from the electricity production. The latest full-scale WEC device integrated into an existing maritime structure has been installed in 2016 at the Naples Harbour in Italy. The system is called OBREC
(Overtopping BReakwater for Energy Conversion) and represents the first hybrid breakwater coupled with an Overtopping device
that exploits the wave overtopping in order to capture
part of the wave energy and convert into electricity. OBREC installation is
not much more costly than building traditional breakwaters. It
is built as a robust concrete structure with the turbine shaft
and the gates controlling the water flow as virtually the only
moving part in the mechanical system and the structure is safe
even with malfunctioning of these moving parts. Other
potential advantage may be the recirculation of water inside
the harbour and the minimal environmental impact of the
operating system.

Resources needed

OBREC R&D and the pilot at Naples port are part of the National Operational
Programme for "Research and Competitiveness" 2007-2013
(NOP for R&C) founded project PON04a3_00303. Total budget: € 685'000.00

Evidence of success

the OBREC prototype installed at the Naples port represents the world’s first WEC prototype completely embedded into a breakwater. two test campaigns were carried out in 2012 and 2014 at the Aalborg University (AAU) in Denmark. The ongoing monitoring campaing is providing technical date without scale effect.

Potential for learning or transfer

Compared to other European countries facing the ocean, the
wave energy prospective in the Italian seas is relatively low, as
expected. However, the high production performance of OBREC in a mild wave climate represents a strong incentive to export the technology algo the European Atlantic coastline. This would mean also a new auspicious approach in maintenance and rehabilitation of exiting and deteriorated coastal structures.
Main institution
University of Campania Luigi Vanvitelli
Campania, Italy (Italia)
Start Date
June 2012
End Date


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