Going Green

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Power of the Waves II

The following article is from the U.S. Department of Energy's Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy website.

September 12, 2007

Company Deploys Wave Energy Device off Oregon Coast

Finavera Renewables Inc. announced on September 6th that it has deployed its prototype AquaBuOY 2.0 wave energy converter off the coast of Newport, Oregon. Located about two and a half miles from the coast, the wave energy converter consists of an open steel cylinder extending downward into the ocean from a floating buoy. A piston is located midway down the cylinder, suspended between two steel-reinforced rubber hoses like a button on a string. As waves pass, the piston moves up and down along the cylinder, alternately flexing and compressing the hoses. The hoses are filled with seawater, and as they flex, they eject high-pressure seawater into a turbine, which rotates and drives a generator to produce power.

The prototype wave energy converter is fitted with solar panels and small wind turbines to guarantee a constant supply of power to equipment that is monitoring the performance of the device. Data is being streamed from the buoy via wireless and satellite systems. Over the next several weeks, Finavera Renewables will analyze the performance of the device, with the aim of perfecting a design that can be deployed next year. The company hopes to install a commercial wave energy system at the site by 2010. See the Finavera press release (PDF 71 KB). Download Adobe Reader.

At least one other wave energy project is planned for the Oregon coast, as Ocean Power Technologies, Inc. (OPT) plans to build and deploy a 150-kilowatt PowerBuoy wave energy converter off the coast of Reedsport. Like the AquaBuOY wave energy converter, the PowerBuoy device is a buoy that employs a piston-like structure to drive a generator. In late August, OPT signed an agreement with PNGC Power, a Portland-based electric power services cooperative, which will provide $500,000 to OPT for the fabrication and installation of its prototype device. OPT plans to develop a 2-megawatt wave power system at the Reedsport site, with the possibility of later expanding the project to 50 megawatts. See OPT press release and Web site.

This is a different type of technology for harvesting wave energy than I previously posted.

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