The Santa Fe New Mexico-based ocean wave energy company Atmocean, Inc. became one of the few companies in the world to successfully deploy a wave energy array. The deployment occurred in ILO Peru, where Atmocean has a demonstration permit issued by the Peru Navy to conduct this operation.
According to Chris White, Project Manager for Atmocean who helped supervise the deployment, “This deployment is the culmination of our effort begun last winter in which we manufactured the wave energy seawater pumps in New Mexico, the buoys in Lima, and the mooring system and deployment rafts in ILO. By accomplishing this volume production in three locations, we have demonstrated we can ship systems from production sites to deployment sites worldwide. We also verified the inherent low cost of the system, and the ease of deployment using locally-available vessels. This is a major development milestone both for Atmocean and for the wave energy industry which up to now has encountered numerous cost and operational problems. This success helps “right the ship” of wave energy”.
The Atmocean wave energy array is designed to provide multiple benefits, including generation of renewable electricity, fresh water produced by desalinating the ocean, ice for local fishing fleets, seawater supply for aquaculture and shrimp ponds, as well as the potential to “green the coastal deserts worldwide” – use drip irrigation technology to grow trees and agricultural products, both to increase global food supply, and to actually drawdown excess atmospheric CO2.
The wave energy array requires a minimum of 1 meter wave height to operate and will operate at a maximum of 3 meters wave height. Buoys will submerge in waves greater than 3 meters, acting as a self-protection mechanism while still using the maximum pump stroke of 3 meters.
The company’s plans in ILO include expanding the system to provide zero-electricity reverse/osmosis (ZER/O™) desalinated fresh water to local industry and consumers. This is a breakthrough in desalination as the industry-standard desalination plant requires significant amounts of electricity to achieve desalination. The Atmocean system saves electrical cost and avoids the CO2 emissions from generating that electricity. Also, the brine water which remains is much less harmful to the environment than brine from electrically-driven desalination systems.
Atmocean CEO Phil Kithil likens this successful deployment to finishing in the top 5 of an ironman race – “many have tried but only a few have succeeded”.
This post was prepared by Solar Thermal Magazine staff.