Wave power winning friends

July 7, 2011

Through industry technology facilitator ITF, Green Ocean Energy has secured funding to the tune of £45,000 to investigate the capability of its Wave Treader device to power offshore oil & gas structures. This is the first renewable energy venture to receive ITF support. And in the US, four contracts have gone out for development work associated with Ocean Power Technologies' PB 150 wave energy device, aka the PowerBuoy, and its deployment off the coast of Reedsport, Oregon.

The six-month ITF-backed project in the UK will examine the potential of Wave Treader technology to provide sustainable electricity to unmanned platforms and offshore installations being decommissioned. Further funding for the project has been raised from GDF Suez, Tata Steel and Bosch Rexroth.

Green Ocean Energy CEO Graeme Bell said the device was originally designed to attach onto offshore wind turbines, ‘but this project is to explore using Wave Treader with either new or existing offshore oil and gas installations. Remote manned and unmanned offshore platforms currently rely on diesel generators for electricity. These incur fuel and maintenance costs, additional vessel activity and health & safety issues as well as contamination and pollution risks. There is great potential for our wave energy project to revolutionise how the oil & gas sector is powered.'

Initially the project will assess the suitability and level of demand for a local energy source at a range of locations. Detailed investigation of wave resources, potential deployment methods and structural loading impacts will be carried out, alongside establishing a power matrix to quantify power demand and indicate the device's required size.

Dorothy Burke, ITF operations director, commented: ‘Sustainability is a constant thread to new technology developments and this pioneering project could lead the way for the future of the offshore oil & gas sector. ITF invested £25,000 from our Pioneer Fund, which supports the early-stage development of potentially game changing technologies, and also secured a further £20,000 investment from one of our operator members. The Wave Treader device may be the key catalyst to a clean source of electricity to power offshore operations.'

Meanwhile, Ocean Power Technologies in the US plans to deploy and test its prototype PowerBuoy offshore by the end of the year and longer term is looking to construct the first US commercialscale wave power complex off Reedsport, involving nine additional PowerBuoys and grid connection infrastructure.

The contracts, which follow a spar fabrication award to Oregon Iron Works announced earlier, went to American Bridge Manufacturing, for subsurface floats and towout fixtures; Vigor Industrial subsidiary Cascade General, for final assembly of the PowerBuoy; Oregon Iron Works, for insertion and assembly of the power take-off and internal electronics into the spar; and Sause Bros, for assistance with towing and deployment. OE

FLOATING WIND PARK PILOT: Aberdeen's Xodus Group will plan and carry out an environmental impact assessment (EIA ) for Statoil for a potential pilot park for the world's first full-scale floating wind turbine. The Hywind turbine is based on the Hywind Demo prototype (pictured under tow to its location offshore Norway), which Statoil has been testing for over a year (OE April 2010). An area off the northeast coast of Scotland will be assessed by the consultancy as a potential candidate for a possible first pilot park of up to five such units.



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