The Leading Edge

Issue 3 and Volume 29.

Ocean Power Technologies begins work on Oregon wave farm

Construction has begun on a commercial wave energy farm off Oregon’s coast. This plant is being developed by Ocean Power Technologies (OPT) and is planned to supply power to about 400 homes, according to national media reports.

The system will be installed off the Oregon coast near Reedsport, and it will represent the first phase of an expected ten-PowerBuoy wave power station with a generating capacity of about 1.5 MW. The development would be the first commercial-scale wave power farm in the U.S.

OPT has chosen Oregon Iron Works to construct its first commercial wave energy PowerBuoy system in North America.

The first buoy will measure 150 feet tall by 40 feet wide, weigh 200 tons and cost $4 million, according to Phil Pellegrino, spokesman for New Jersey-based developer OPT. Nine additional PowerBuoys will be constructed and installed under the second phase of the project. The additional buoys are scheduled to be deployed by 2012 at a total cost of about $60 million.

BioPower Systems investigating San Francisco wave project

BioPower Systems and the city of San Francisco are investigating the feasibility of installing a wave energy project 5 miles off the coast of California, in the Pacific Ocean.

The technology used for the Oceanside Wave Energy Project would be Bio Power System’s bioWAVE modular system. Each unit would have a capacity of 1 MW. BioPower and the city are studying the possibility of between ten and 100 units.

A bioWAVE unit consists of vertically mounted buoyant blades that interact with the oscillating flow field and can orient themselves to the prevailing wave direction. The motion of the blades is turned into electricity using a generator system. To avoid damage in extreme conditions, the unit ceases operation and assumes a streamlined position lying flat on the ocean floor.

Project proponents say the goal is to have the project installed and supplying electricity to the city’s power grid by 2012.

BioPower Systems is located in Eveleigh, New South Wales, Australia.

Sandia to undertake marine and hydrokinetic energy studies

Sandia National Laboratories is using funds from a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) competitive laboratory solicitation for the development of advanced waterpower technologies.

Sandia will receive more than $9 million over three years.

Sandia will lead two of the four topic areas awarded under the grant and will provide technical support in a third topic area. The four topic areas awarded are:

– Supporting research and testing for marine and hydrokinetic energy;

– Environmental assessment and mitigation methods for marine and hydrokinetic energy;

– Supporting research and testing for hydropower; and

– Environmental assessment and mitigation methods for hydropower.

The work will be performed by personnel in the lab’s Wind and Water Power Technologies group. Jose Zayas, manager of the group, will oversee a multidisciplinary team drawn from many areas of lab expertise, including materials and manufacturing research, environmental monitoring and stewardship, performance modeling, and testing. The department will pursue a diverse research agenda in marine hydrokinetic systems.

With regard to technology evaluation, lab personnel will examine the cost-effectiveness and reliability of technology for marine hydrokinetics, which include wave, current/tide, and thermal energy conversion. Personnel also will evaluate the use of Sandia’s lake facility for large-scale wave testing.

This work – to be performed in partnership with Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) – includes evaluating new device designs and conducting basic research in materials, coatings, adhesives, hydrodynamics, and manufacturing to assist industry in bringing efficient technologies to market, Sandia says. Sandia also will work with NREL in the direct design and testing of new technologies.

With regard to environmental stewardship, Sandia personnel will perform research to describe and quantify environmental effects caused by new and existing marine and hydrokinetic technologies. Personnel will evaluate environmental factors that include rates of sediment transport, water flow, water quality, and acoustic changes.

This work – to be performed in partnership with Oak Ridge, Pacific Northwest, and Argonne National Laboratory – will help quantify the types and magnitude of environmental effects for various technologies. Researchers will collaborate with industry to develop criteria for selecting locations and select technology to monitor and mitigate such effects.

Hydro Alternative Energy acquires rights to technology

Hydro Alternative Energy Inc. (HAE), a renewable energy company, recently acquired all U.S. and international patent and intellectual property rights to certain water power technology for use in certain commercialized water power applications.

Such technology rights are the subject of an exclusive licensing agreement between Water Power Technologies LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of HAE, and HAE. HAE previously reported acquiring Water Power Technologies in December 2009.

HAE projects that the basic design of the technology set forth in the patent-pending applications will allow the company to save about two to three years of research and development.

The company acquired such patent technology rights from the inventor, Harry “Skip” Robinson, a former Water Power Technologies unit holder and now a company shareholder.

“We believe that this patent rights technology acquisition will accelerate our efforts to produce working turbines for clean, low cost electric energy production and deployment in slow moving water in areas not yet currently serviced,” said Mark Antonucci, chief financial officer and co-founder of HAE. “We believe that the turbine described within the patent pending applications will allow our system to generate more power than originally estimated. The design of the patent pending technology is modular in design, environmentally friendly and unobtrusive to the surrounding area.”

In February 2010, HAE announced that it recently conducted initial in-water, offshore testing of this turbine prototype. The test involved the prototype being positioned in the Intracoastal Waterway and demonstrating the production of electrical current.

Company seeks investor for Gulf Stream ocean energy project

Gulf Stream Turbines LLC is seeking a company or group of investors to license its ocean energy technology.

Each Gulf Stream Turbine is equipped with two 600-kW turbines and two generators that rotate in opposite directions to neutralize torque.

The kinetic energy in the Gulf Stream is relatively steady, meaning turbines can continuously generate power at near their theoretical capacities, the company says. In fact, each unit theoretically will generate 8,941,300 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity annually, operating at 85 percent of theoretical capacity, the company says.

Installation of these units in a renewable energy facility would make the company eligible for a government production tax credit of 2.1 cents per kWh for the first ten years of operation, Gulf Stream Turbines says.

For more information, visit the website: www.gulfstreamturbine.com.

More Hydro Review Current Issue Articles
More Hydro Review Archives Issue Articles