Ocean Power Technologies, Inc (OPT) has been awarded $2.75M in additional funding from the US Navy for a second stage under its existing contract to provide an autonomous PowerBuoy wave energy conversion system for the Navy’s near-coast anti-terrorism and maritime surveillance program.
The new award follows the successful completion by OPT of the first stage of a four-year $15M project for the US Navy’s Littoral Expeditionary Autonomous PowerBuoy (LEAP) program.
“OPT is delighted to receive this new funding from the US Navy. We appreciate the confidence that the Navy has shown in OPT and our autonomous PowerBuoy, which is based on a long-standing and productive partnership,” said Charles F. Dunleavy, Chief Executive Officer of OPT. “Over a numbers of years, the US Navy has provided key funding to OPT for the development of our core PowerBuoy technology. This has provided the platform from which we have developed our autonomous PowerBuoy, as well as our 150 kilowatt-rated utility PowerBuoys now being built in Oregon and Scotland. With the recent achievement of grid-connection of our PowerBuoy at the Marine Corps Base in Hawaii and progress on the Navy’s Deep Water Active Detection System program, we look forward to strengthening our relationship with the Navy to harness wave power for maritime security and utility applications.”
During the first 12-month stage under the LEAP program, OPT successfully completed delivery of the design and testing of a new power take-off system for its autonomous PowerBuoy. This represents a major step toward developing a LEAP-based vessel detection system. OPT’s sub-contractor, Rutgers University, contributed to the system’s radar network and communications infrastructure, while Mikros Systems Corporation provided the interface to the Navy’s tactical system. In the second stage of the program, also to be performed over a one-year period, the Company will build and ocean-test a LEAP system off the coast of New Jersey.
The LEAP program, first announced in October 2009, is aimed at enhancing the US Navy’s homeland security and force protection capability through the provision of continuous non-grid connected power at sea. The objective entails combining a number of technologies, including at-sea sensors, communications, real-time signal processing and OPT’s PowerBuoy with the ultimate aim of developing a vessel detection system. The benefits for the US are expected to include protection for critical infrastructure, drug traffic interdiction and detection of surface and subsurface maritime threats. The project has received strong support from the New Jersey congressional delegation.