DOE Funds $10M for Wave Energy Device Testing

October 31, 2014 By Linda Hardesty

ocean energyThe Energy Department announced $10 million in funding for two companies developing marine and hydrokinetic (MHK) energy technology. Ocean Energy USA and Northwest Energy Innovations will test their wave energy conversion (WEC) devices for one year in new deep-water test berths at the Navy’s Wave Energy Test Site (WETS) off the waters of Marine Corps Base Hawaii.

Ocean Energy USA, of Sacramento, Calif., will leverage lessons learned from previous quarter-scale test deployments that have led to design improvements for a full-scale deployment of their Ocean Energy Buoy at the WETS. The Ocean Energy Buoy works by harnessing the energy from air that is compressed by the natural rise and fall of ocean waves, and converting it into electricity. The Energy Department and the Navy will collect data throughout the deployment. Research objectives include validating the mooring design and device durability in the open ocean environment, measuring power output at full scale, and evaluating the levelized cost of energy produced by the device.

Northwest Energy Innovations (NWEI) of Portland, Ore., will build and test a full-scale model of its Azura WEC device, which extracts power from both the vertical and horizontal motions of waves to maximize energy capture. NWEI is incorporating lessons learned from their half-scale prototype testing in 2012 to modify and improve the full-scale device design. The test will allow the Energy Department and the Navy to gather comprehensive data and evaluate how the device performs in the open ocean. The test data will be used to help validate models generated by the Department’s publicly available, open-source Wave Energy Conversion Simulator tool.

Photo from Ocean Energy

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