New Jersey, United States Marine energy firm Ocean Power Technologies Inc. has announced the deployment for sea trials of a unique autonomous wave energy device, marking an important milestone in the expansion of the company’s PowerBuoy product line.
This latest deployment is an autonomous PowerBuoy designed and manufactured by OPT under the US Navy’s Littoral Expeditionary Autonomous PowerBuoy (LEAP) program for coastal security and maritime surveillance. The LEAP PowerBuoy structure, incorporating a unique power take-off and on-board energy storage system, is significantly smaller and more compact than the standard utility PowerBuoy.
It provides persistent, off-grid clean energy in remote ocean locations for a wide variety of maritime security and monitoring applications.
Under the LEAP program, OPT has integrated its autonomous PowerBuoy with radar network and communications infrastructure from Rutgers University’s Institute of Marine and Coastal Sciences in partnership with CODAR Ocean Sensors. This PowerBuoy provides power at the lower levels needed for the sophisticated vessel detection and tracking system, enabling maritime surveillance in the near coast, harbors and littoral zones worldwide. Mikros Systems Corporation provided data and systems architecture support for the PowerBuoy/radar network.
Currently, systems requiring remote power at sea are often powered by diesel generators, which need frequent maintenance and fuel replenishment. The LEAP PowerBuoy system was developed by OPT to provide constant power in all wave conditions for the sea-based radar and communications system. The company’s proprietary power management techniques and onboard energy storage capability are key innovations of the system, and enable operation even in extended zero-wave sea conditions. In addition, the system has been engineered to require no maintenance for three years.
The LEAP system was deployed Aug. 11, 2011, by a US Coast Guard vessel and will be ocean-tested approximately 20 miles off the coast of New Jersey. It will be integrated with the Rutgers University-operated, land-based radar network that provides ocean current mapping data for the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and US Coast Guard search and rescue operations. The ocean test of the LEAP vessel detection system will therefore demonstrate dual-use capability of the radar network and verify OPT’s technology as a persistent power source for systems requiring remote power at sea.