Wave energy technology company Ocean Power Technologies (OPT) has begun ocean trials of the first of its new generation utility-scale PowerBuoy device, the PB150 - the largest and most powerful wave power device designed by OPT to date with a peak-rated power output of 150kW.
The device was successfully deployed at sea off the coast of Scotland on 15 April 2011 by a team including Global Maritime Scotland Ltd, Port Services (Invergordon) Ltd and OPT, with the support of the Cromarty Firth Port Authority. A second PB150 is now under construction in the US for an anticipated utility-scale project in Oregon, and the Company is involved in other planned projects in North America, Australia, Japan and Europe that would utilize the PB150 PowerBuoy.
“Working closely with local partners, our US and UK engineering and marine operations teams have done a superb job of executing the design, build, test and deployment of the first PB150 device in Scotland,” said Charles F. Dunleavy, Chief Executive Officer of OPT. “This achievement represents a pivotal stage in the Company’s commercialization of its PowerBuoy technology. The sea-trials are progressing well and, along with the PB150’s independent certification by Lloyd’s Register, underscore our efforts to consistently lay the groundwork for ocean-survivable systems and predictable wave power generation. OPT now has two PowerBuoys operating in separate oceans: our grid-connected PowerBuoy in Hawaii, and this one in Scotland. With the construction of the second PB150 PowerBuoy, to be deployed in Reedsport, Oregon, our goal to make wave power an economically-viable source of renewable energy continues to gain momentum.”
The ocean trials are being conducted at a site approximately 33 nautical miles from Invergordon, off Scotland’s northeast coast, and are expected to last up to three months. A broad range of operations and functional tests are being performed, examining the response of the PowerBuoy’s structure and mooring system to the waves and the power produced by the on-board generator. A wave data buoy located near the site provides detailed information regarding incoming waves. Data collected during the trials is being transmitted from the PowerBuoy in real-time for analysis by OPT’s engineers in both the UK and the US.
The power produced to date in this commissioning phase has been as planned, and is consistent with the test protocols and OPT’s predictive models for the wave environment experienced. On-board equipment duplicates grid-connection conditions to ensure the buoy’s electrical systems are subject to full operational testing for utility applications. This power generation data further validates the Company’s experience with its grid-connected Hawaii PowerBuoy system. It demonstrates the PowerBuoy’s ability to produce the level of power expected to be generated in varying conditions, and to predict power accurately for different-sized PowerBuoys, at a range of sites.
The Company is seeking a customer for the commercial utilization of the buoy after the ocean trial phase is completed, including its possible deployment at various potential sites.