The ocean renewable energy sector is in its infancy and has struggled the last few years with financial and technical setbacks. That is what makes today’s accomplishment by Ocean Power Technologies (OPT) an important milestone for the fledgling industry.
Ocean Power Technologies successfully deployed its PB40 PowerBuoy wave energy device off the coast of New Jersey. Since this is the company’s first deployment since late 2013, it was a critical step in its intensified efforts to commercialize its technology. The buoy has been moored approximately 30 nautical miles southeast of New York City and will provide OPT with performance data that is crucial for further product development and commercialization.
A little bit about the technology
The PB40 is a 40 kW-capable self-powered wave energy harvesting system designed for both stand-alone autonomous (off-grid) or integrated network applications with higher average power requirements >1 kiloWatt (kW). A small network of PB40s can be utilized to provide higher power with higher availability to more power-intensive offshore applications. Ironically, the device is being marketed as a potential power source for the oil industry for pipeline valve operators, compressors, and pipeline heaters.
The high performance wave energy conversion system generates power in even moderate wave environments. The PB40 is equipped with remote monitoring and diagnostic capabilities allowing for proactive maintenance strategies, thus increasing availability and operational effectiveness. It supports communications by Wi-Fi, cellular, and satellite.
George H. Kirby, President and Chief Executive Officer of OPT commented, “This deployment is the culmination of the tremendous effort and dedication of the entire OPT team, deepening our expertise and solidifying our leadership in renewable wave energy conversion technology. We are very proud of this achievement and we look forward to assessing the buoy’s performance, which will provide an important step in furthering our discussions with customers in our target markets. Our goal is to bring reliable, cost-effective offshore power solutions to markets that will provide viable alternatives to higher-cost solutions and enable many new customer applications that are currently not available.”
Mr. Kirby continued, “I again would like to thank the US Department of Energy for its investment in this program, as well as the European Union for its investment in support of the PB40 development and in the advancement of the global marine renewable energy industry. I would also like to note that we continue to make significant progress on our commercial generation APB350 A2 PowerBuoy, and we have begun development of our PB10 PowerBuoy, both of which are critical parts of our technology roadmap and overall commercialization strategy. The A2 design includes an optimized hull geometry for improved wave energy extraction as well as reduced fabrication, transportation and deployment costs. PB10 will provide significantly more power generation capacity with a nominal increase in weight for applications requiring greater power. I am very excited about the progress we are making on our commercialization plan as we remain focused on our vision of transforming the world through innovative ocean energy solutions.”
Tracey is an accountant and entrepreneur with a passion for nature. This passion is what spurred her interest in renewable energy, and the rest is history as they say. Tracey is a principal in Energy Think Group, the publisher of Solar Thermal Magazine and Tek-Think. She is also the principal at Women's Financial Help Desk. She spends her free time in the outdoors with her horses and dogs. She loves to travel.