|Individual PowerBuoy and undersea substation. Source: OPT. Click to enlarge.|
Lockheed Martin and Ocean Power Technologies, Inc. (OPT) have signed a commercial engineering services agreement to develop OPT’s wave energy systems for use in future utility-scale power generation projects.
Under the agreement, Lockheed Martin will provide its expertise in systems integration, lean manufacturing, and test and optimization analysis to enhance OPT’s innovative PowerBuoy wave power generation technology to utility-scale. This will allow the two companies to pursue future utility-scale power generation projects in North America. The companies agreed to collaborate on such projects in a letter of intent signed in January 2009.
|PB150 PowerBuoy, dimensions show in feet. Source: OPT. Click to enlarge.|
The OPT PowerBuoys are point absorbers, with a linear generator for a power take-off system. The “smart” buoys, based on integrated patented hydrodynamics, electronics, energy conversion and computer control systems, capture and convert energy from the natural rising and falling of waves into low-cost, clean electricity. The generated power is transferred ashore via an underwater power transmission cable.
OPT’s latest version is its PB150 PowerBuoy. This 150 kW PowerBuoy is being fabricated in Scotland and will be deployed in 2010 at the European Marine Energy Centre in Orkney Isles, Scotland. A second PB150 PowerBuoy is also planned to be ready for deployment in 2010 as the first of ten PowerBuoys at Reedsport, Oregon. The deployment of these two PowerBuoys in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans will mark a milestone in the company’s commercial development, as it will be the first time two of the same scale utility PowerBuoys are deployed in multiple locations.
The PB150 PowerBuoy will generate power with wave heights between 1.5 and 7 meters (4.9 to 22.9 feet). OPT’s mooring approach and PowerBuoy structure permit deployment of the PowerBuoy system across a wide combination of storm wave, tidal, and current conditions, making it suitable for many wave climates. The PB150 is typically configured in two to three row arrays, minimizing the footprint of the project.
The PB150 PowerBuoy offers a sustained maximum peak-rated output of 150 kW and a power factor of -0.9 to +0.9. Typical capacity factors for the PB150 are between 30% to 50%, depending on location.
|Undersea substation pod. Source: OPT. Click to enlarge.|
OPT has also developed an Underwater Substation Pod (USP) for which a patent is pending, which can aggregate the electrical output from up to ten (10) PB150 PowerBuoys into a single transmission cable to shore. This approach minimizes costs of submarine transmission cable to the shore based interconnection. The USP provides control and SCADA capability for all connected PowerBuoys.
A future 10-Megawatt utility power station consisting of floating PowerBuoy systems would occupy approximately 30 acres (0.125 square kilometers) of ocean space. Such a plant would generate electricity for approximately 4,000 homes.
Earlier in October, OPT signed an exclusive agreement with a consortium of three leading Japanese companies to develop a demonstration wave power station in Japan. The Japanese consortium comprises Idemitsu Kosan Co., Mitsui Engineering & Shipbuilding Co., and Japan Wind Development Co.. Further, OPT has been invited to become a member of the Tokyo Wave Power Initiative, a committee including the city of Tokyo, regional governments and national agencies involved in the promotion of new energy sources.
This agreement marks OPT’ first project in Japan and is in line with OPT’s global strategy to form alliances with strategic partners in key markets. OPT now has a range of power generation projects globally, including those in Oregon and Hawaii, USA; Scotland and Southwest England; Spain; Australia; and Japan.
Separately, the US Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) recently awarded Lockheed Martin an $8.12 million contract to further develop Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC) technology, which the leverages ocean’s natural thermal gradient between warmer water at the ocean’s surface and colder water below to produce renewable and reliable power. (Earlier post.)