Oceanlinx commission final demonstration wave power plant  

Posted by Big Gav in , , ,

IEEE Spectrum has an article on wave power company Oceanlinx, who have commissioned their final demonstration unit before commencing construction of a commercial facility - This Renewable Energy Source Is Swell (via Cleantechnica).

The ocean is a potential treasure trove for renewable energy—one NASA study estimated more than 91 000 terawatt-hours annually of accessible energy worldwide. But wave-power technology development has been plagued by the unpredictability of the source and technical troubles stemming from the harsh ocean water environment. Now an Australia-based company has found a new way, to predictably and reliably generate energy from the ocean. The technology relies on the power of ocean swells, which are easy-to-predict long-wavelength oscillations.

Earlier this month, off the coast of Port Kembla, near Sydney, Oceanlinx began installation of its final demonstration-scale, grid-connected unit before it begins commercial construction. (The company is disassembling its first demo plant there, which has been in operation since 2006.) The new plant will be ready in early 2010, and its power can be connected to the Australian grid. Oceanlinx CEO Ali Baghaei says the new plant ”will validate a capacity over 2.5 megawatts” per unit—enough energy for about 2000 Australian homes.

The technology behind the power involves tugboat-sized platforms that convert ocean swells to energy as they pass beneath them. Unlike other ocean-energy schemes, the platform converts the energy of the swells into air pressure to turn a wind turbine.

Oceanlinx’s technology has its roots in the oil industry. Oil platforms no longer sit on the seabed; instead, they float, kept relatively stable by enormous heave plates (which look like big duck feet) situated many meters below the surface and stabilized by mooring lines. The same technology that keeps oil platforms in place can generate energy, which Oceanlinx demonstrated in 2007 with their second-generation prototype. ...

The generators, which have a modular design, can be combined and configured to provide a range of generation capacities, which will leave a smaller footprint than other renewables schemes, Baghaei says. For example, he estimates, the company’s third-generation platforms could form an array a few hundred meters across to generate hundreds of megawatts, on a par with the biggest commercial tidal power facility in the world, the 240-MW La Rance tidal power plant, in France.

Cleantech.com reports that aerospace company Lockheed Martin are partnering with wave power company OPT in the US - Lockheed dives into developing wave energy, buoyed by OPT tech.
Lockheed Martin and Ocean Power Technologies (OPT) said today they have officially signed a commercial engineering services agreement to develop OPT's wave energy systems to be used in future utility-scale power generation projects. ...

A 10-megawatt utility power station using OPT’s PowerBuoy technology would take up about 30 acres (0.125 square kilometers) of ocean space, the company said. However, the first project between OPT and Lockheed slated five miles off the coast of Reedsport, Ore., would start with a 10-buoy array, with each one capable of producing 150 kilowatts. The project would start at 1.5 MW, Taylor said, and expand in phases up to 50 MW.

OPT is already working on its next-generation 500-kW buoy, which would replace the 150-kW version because it's more economical, Taylor said. The Reedsport project would be followed by a 100-MW deployment in Coos Bay, Ore.

Also at Cleantech.com, a report on an Israeli company looking to develop wave power projects in India - Gujarat government commits $5M to new wave power plant.
Wave power plant developer and engineering company SDE Energy said today its subsidiary signed a memorandum of understanding with the Gujarat government to build a 5 megawatt power plant that harnesses energy from ocean waves. ...

The government has also authorized a $700 million budget for the next phase—a 100 MW sea wave power plant to be built by SDE.


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