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PPS to develop power conversion system for marine hydropower

New Jersey-based Princeton Power Systems, a manufacturer of advanced power conversion products and alternative energy systems, has been awarded a Phase II Small Business Innovative Research contract from the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science. The project will involve the development of an advanced power conversion system to be used in commercial tidal, wave and related hydropower applications, PPS reported.

A patented AC-link developed by PPS will enable a high-powered (1.5 MW) converter design and silicon carbide semiconductor switches to allow for a significantly higher power density and direct connection to 12 kV or higher power lines without the use of a transformer, a press release states. Space and logistic requirements for the power electronics in tidal, wave and other hydropower systems will be drastically reduced, according to PPS.

The converter is also expected to increase the efficiency of transmitting power onshore and interconnecting with the utility grid.

Darren Hammell, PPS executive vice president of business development, said: "We are excited to expand the use of our technologies to the rapidly growing sector of grid-connected hydropower applications. Our history of providing rugged components for Navy applications will ensure that our designs can endure the unique environmental requirements of these systems."

In other news, Ocean Renewable Power Company, a Maine-based marine hydropower firm, announced that its Beta Power System has successfully generated grid-compatible power from tidal currents at its Cobscook Bay site in Eastport, Maine.

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