Testing Update

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Ever since registering more than a year ago for the Wave Energy Prize, our teams have eagerly anticipated the opportunity to test their 1/20th-scale WEC prototypes in the Navy’s Maneuvering and Seakeeping (MASK) Basin, at Carderock, Md. In a building with a footprint of more than five acres, what developer wouldn’t be giddy with excitement to test a new technology in the nation’s premier wave-making facility containing more than 12 million gallons of fresh water?

The beginning of August marked the beginning of the final round testing, and some of our Finalist Teams have already completed their 1/20th scale model tests in the MASK Basin. Others are still awaiting their turn. M3 Wave was first in the tank, followed by Waveswing America, Harvest Wave Energy (Team FLAPPER), AquaHarmonics, CalWave Power Technologies, Oscilla Power and Sea PotentialRTI Wave Power is testing its prototype this week, and SEWEC is onsite building its device.

“Watching our Finalist Teams’ WEC concepts come to life at the MASK Basin has been a thrill,” said Alison LaBonte, Marine and Hydrokinetic Technology Program Manager in DOE’s Water Power Technologies Office. “We’re looking forward to the Judges’ analyses of the nine weeks of testing and learning how many and which technologies surpassed our goal of doubling the energy capture efficiency of wave energy converters.”

Two Wave Energy Prize Qualified Teams Selected by DOE to Receive Share in $10.5 Million for a Separate WEC Survivability Funding Opportunity

The New Year started with some good news for M3 Wave LLC and Oscilla Power, Inc. as these Wave Energy Prize Qualified Teams were two of six organizations selected to receive a share of $10.5 million under the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Durability and Survivability funding opportunity. This funding, which is separate from the Wave Energy Prize, targets the advancement of marine and hydrokinetic (MHK) device durability and survivability, features—not being tested for in the Wave Energy Prize—that make devices withstand the harsh conditions encountered in real-world marine environments.

  • M3 Wave LLC, of Salem, Ore., is developing a wave energy converter that sits on the ocean floor and harnesses energy from the pressure waves beneath ocean waves. This project will develop modeling tools to explore ways to 1) minimize effects of sediment transport, effects such as water erosion, displacement, and tilting of the device; and to 2) increase the lifetime of their system by reducing maintenance requirements in commercial-scale deployments.
  • Oscilla Power, Inc., of Seattle, is developing a wave energy converter consisting of a surface float that is tethered to a base suspended in the water. This project aims to optimize the device’s storm-survival configurations, which will decrease the loads the device experiences during extreme conditions.

DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory and Sandia National Laboratories will also provide numerical modeling resources and expertise to the teams as they develop these next-generation ideas.

The design improvements will help these devices last longer, cost less to maintain and capture even more sustainable energy from the enormous potential of the nation’s oceans and rivers. Extending the lifespans of wave energy converters will ultimately lead to a reduction in the cost of MHK-derived energy. As part of its MHK technology research and development efforts, DOE is working to harness the largely untapped renewable energy in waves, tidal, ocean and river currents that could provide clean, affordable energy to homes and businesses across the country’s coastal regions.