Oscilla Power said it has successfully deployed its wave energy converter (WEC) prototype in Castine Harbor, Maine, indicating the technology’s ability to generate clean energy while withstanding extreme weather conditions.
The project, done in collaboration with the University of Maine’s Advanced Structures and Composites Center (ASCC) and the Maine Maritime Academy, reportedly affirms the performance of the 1-megawatt Oscilla Triton WEC in a real-world environment. The project included a one-sixth model of the full Triton WEC and took place in Castine Harbor as waves are about one-sixth the size of those on the West Coast of the United States, where WECs are to be installed.
The testing was largely done to ensure the WEC could withstand harsh weather, especially the larger waves caused by such events. Further, testing helped indicate how much power the full-scale system will be able to operate in varying wave conditions.
“While we have excellent design and computer-driven simulations, there is no substitute for running the unit through its paces in a real operating environment,” said Tim Mundon, chief technology officer for Oscilla Power. “Thanks to the partnership with Maine Maritime Academy and the University of Maine, we’re able to complete this testing to validate our assumptions and numerical models to ensure our commercial production unit will perform as designed. This is a critical milestone in the design.”
The University of Maine helped with structural design and construction of some WEC components and supported the permitting, monitoring, and decommissioning of the test project. Maine Maritime Academy helped secure the prototype in the testing site and provided training for the waterfront workforce needed to implement the technology.
Wave Energy Supports Other Renewables, California Commits to Assess Technology
While not as well known as wind or solar energy, wave, and tidal energy has the potential to support other renewable energy sources and may provide reliable energy during heat waves and blackouts. According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, wave and tidal energy has the ability to meet 30% of the country’s energy needs.
In September of this year, the California State Senate voted in favor of legislation to study and assess wave and tidal energy along the state’s coastline. Such research will assess how wave energy may help the state meet its goal of achieving a zero-emissions grid by 2045. The National Renewable Energy Lab estimates that wave energy in California could potentially power about 13 million homes, or nearly 70% of California’s 2019 net electricity generation.
Oscilla Power aims to promote the untapped potential of ocean energy, emphasizing wave energy technology’s predictability, significant available supply, and low impact on surrounding ecosystems.