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Hydro Review

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Ocean Power Technologies completes wave power device

Ocean Power Technologies Inc. (OPT), a wave energy technology company based in Pennington, N.J., has announced the completion of the first of its new generation utility-scale PowerBuoy devices, the PB150.

The PB150 PowerBuoy is the largest and most powerful wave power device designed by OPT to date. With a peak-rated power output of 150 kW — equivalent to the energy consumption of about 150 homes — the PB150 is designed for use in arrays for grid-connected power generation projects worldwide, the company says.

Development of the device, built and assembled at Invergordon, Scotland, represents a multi-million pound sterling investment in the region. It is currently being prepared for ocean trials at a site about 33 nautical miles from Invergordon, off Scotland’s northeast coast.

A second PB150 is under construction in the U.S. for a proposed utility-scale project in Oregon, and the company is involved in other planned projects in Australia, Japan, and Europe that may use the PB150.

In addition, OPT announces its financial results for the third quarter and nine months ended January 31, 2011, of its fiscal year ending on April 30, 2011. Highlights include:

  • Revenue increased by 78 percent and 73 percent for the three and nine months ended January 31, 2011, compared to the respective periods last year;
  • Expanded relationship with Mitsui Engineering & Shipbuilding Co. Ltd. in Japan with the signing of a contract to tailor OPT’s PowerBuoy technology for Japanese sea conditions; and
  • Achieved Lloyd’s Register certification for the PB150 PowerBuoy design, providing independent, third-party assurance of its compliance with international standards.

Marine and hydrokinetic energy bill navigating Congress


The Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources convened a hearing on the MHK Renewable Energy Promotion Act of 2011 (S.630) at the end of March. This act, introduced by Ranking Member Lisa Murkowski, would:

  • Authorize federal funding for three national marine and hydrokinetic (MHK) testing facilities;
  • Offer adaptive management grants to cover the costs of studies needed for demonstration projects; and
  • Establish an energy device verification program.

The bill also authorizes $75 million a year for three years (2012-2014) for the covered programs.


Supporters of the bill include senators Murkowski, Ron Wyden, Chris Coons, and Jeanne Shaheen.

FORCE adds Atlantis turbine to test site

A tidal turbine developed by Atlantis Resources Corp. of the United Kingdom will take the fourth berth at the Fundy Ocean Research Center for Energy (FORCE) in Nova Scotia, Canada.

Atlantis was one of five respondents to a request for proposals issued by the province in the fall of 2010 for a fourth berth-holder at the FORCE test site. The FORCE site, in the Minas Passage area of the Bay of Fundy, features water depths up to 45 meters at low tide, a sediment-free bedrock sea floor, straight flowing currents and water speeds up to 5 meters per second.

Atlantis will work with Lockheed Martin and Irving Shipbuilding to customize, build, deploy and monitor a 1-MW AK-1000 Mark II turbine. Lockheed Martin will be responsible for engineering design elements, production drawings, procurement of major turbine components and systems testing. Irving Shipbuilding will oversee construction of the turbine base and assembly of the device.

The AK series turbines are commercial scale horizontal axis units designed for open ocean deployment in harsh environments, according to Atlantis. AK turbines are available in 1-MW and 2-MW systems, the company reports.

In the summer of 2011, FORCE is scheduled to install four subsea transmission cables to connect the test turbines to the electrical grid. Each 34.5-kV cable has a 16-MW capacity.

The Atlantis turbine is to be deployed at this location in the summer of 2012. The company expects it will cost $10 million to $15 million to deploy the turbine.

Atlantis joins three existing berth-holders: Nova Scotia Power and Open Hydro of Ireland, Minas Basin Pulp and Power and Marine Current Turbines, and Alstom of France and its Clean Current technology.

FORCE, a test center for in-stream tidal energy technology, receives funding support from the government of Canada, the province of Nova Scotia, Encana Corp., and participating developers.

ASCE committee studies marine renewable energy

The Marine Renewable Energy Committee of the American Society of Civil Engineers’ (ASCE) Coasts, Oceans, Ports, and Rivers Institute studies a variety of technical areas associated with marine renewable energy structures.

The committee has several purposes, including: to study and disseminate information on the planning, design, construction, maintenance, operation, pollution control, and technical functioning of marine renewable energy facilities above and below the water, including anchoring of marine structures to the seabed; mooring systems for floating devices; transmission cable burial and protection; studying and reporting on federal, state, and regional efforts to plan and regulate the construction and maintenance activities of marine renewable energy facilities; requirements for shore-based facilities related to marine renewable energy; and port and harbor infrastructure to support the construction and maintenance of marine renewable structures and technology.

The committee has eight subcommittees on: structures, risk and reliability, environmental loading, geotechnical, government issues, wave energy converters, ocean thermal energy converters, and in-stream hydrokinetic.

The committee is producing documents that address each of the above technical areas associated with marine renewable energy structures at they pertain to civil engineers. The three documents currently being prepared cover geotechnical, structural, and mooring guidelines for marine renewable energy structures.

The committee was formed in August 2009 and has about 40 members from industry, government, and academia. William Stewart is chair of the committee.

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