Ocean energy company, BioPower Systems (BPS), has completed the construction and onshore testing of a 250kW bioWAVE pilot demonstration unit.
The project was supported by an AUD $11 million (US $8.5 million) grant from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), a AUD $5 million (US $3.85 million) grant from the Victorian Government and another AUD $5 million in equity from BPS.
The unique bioWAVE comprises a 26-metre tall oscillating structure that sways back-and-forth beneath the ocean swell, capturing energy from the waves and converting it into electricity fed into the grid via an undersea cable.
The structure is scheduled for deployment at Port Fairy in Victoria, Australia later this year. The data collected from the project, combined with the experience gained, is expected to help drive down the cost of wave energy, and contribute to further development of the bioWAVE towards commercial production.
Importantly, during infrequent extreme wave events, the structure will automatically assume a “safe” position lying flat against the seabed. This reduces the structural design requirements (and hence cost) while maintaining reliability.
“Achieving practical completion of the bioWAVE is a major milestone in the development of this technology,” said the CEO of BPS, Dr .Timothy Finnigan. “We look forward to seeing it operating in the Southern Ocean, developing the next generation machine and exploiting the technology around the world.”
ARENA CEO Ivor Frischknecht said the project would further cement Australia’s position as a leader in renewable wave energy.
“Once successfully installed, it will be the second ARENA supported device to supply wave energy to a major Australian grid, feeding 250 KW into the National Electricity Market,” Mr Frischknecht said.
This post was prepared by Solar Thermal Magazine staff.