When the founder of Wello Oy, Mr. Heikki Paakkinen, was a teenager he used to build ship models at the summer cottage waterfront and tried to figure out how to get them propulsioned around. As years went by Heikki added analytics into modeling and the idea of wave energy was born. During the first wave energy boom in the 1970’s Heikki grew more enthusiastic and he started to concentrate more deeply on building and testing the effect of different paddles in his models. As fishermen do, Heikki used to sit hours and hours in the boat staring at the boat models and movements of water. He observed how water flow steered fallen leaves in water and tried to figure out how to get the boat models make use of the wave movements. Based on Heikki’s architectural education he solves the challenge of continuous rotation merely through design of the shape of the device than by adding mechanical components to it.
First development phase: The target was to get the device to rotate around its axle. The challenges were slow speed of rotation and hydrodynamic friction. Heikki continued modeling and built prototypes in cold garage wearing warm fur hats and clothes. Now Heikki’s shed at their home lot hosts a collection of various prototypes throughout the years.
Second development phase: While wandering in a forest Heikki suddenly innovated that if a device has a proper shape the mass inside the device rotates. All the moving components should be inside the floating hull shielded against the sea.
The challenge of producing green energy from oceans was solved and something unique was born.
Some of Heikki’s relatives, keen on product development issues as well, were participating in development work. During a childrens’ birthday party Heikki demonstrated his prototype to his brother Antti Paakkinen. He also became inspired. Now leisure time playing with the models was over and more serious development work started.
Heikki’s contact network helped in acquiring funding and marketing the idea to potential investors. Wello Oy was established in 2008. The Wello word sounded describable relating to the German word Welle and English swell.
The company expanded slowly when new partners joined and the determined goal was to develop the device into a product with the help of various subsidies. At the moment there are eight employees in the company and the prototypes are tested by the rugged cost in Scotland and in Finland in the capital area.
Heikki’s environmental ideology laid base for his development work: he wanted to develop a device producing clean energy without harming the environment. The power of wind is stored in waves and converted into energy by Penguin, wave energy converter device, securing constant energy production.
Heikki’s passion is to further develop the design of the Penguin and the work continues.
|Teenage years||Testing at summer cottage seafront|
|1970’s||First wave energy boom on the markets|
|1980’s||First wave energy converter prototype tested|
|1990’s||Development work continues with multiple prototypes|
|Early 2000||Development focuses on rotational devices|
|2008||Wello is founded to develop products based on this fundamental working principle
Testing with 1:18 scale
|2009||Venture Capital funding announced|
|2010||Design work for full scale device started
Survivability proven with 1:8 scale in 100-year’s storm
|2011||Full scale wave energy converter (the Penguin) completed in ship yard|
|2012||The Penguin deployed and grid connected in Orkney: survives 12-meter waves|
|2013||Second deployment of Penguin: Solid operational principle proven|
|2014||Continuous test period of half a year for the Penguin. All components inside the device are still original from 2011 and in full working condition
Co-operation with Scandinavian utility company Fortum announced