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Ocean Power Technologies completes first 150 kW PowerBuoy device

Ocean Power Technologies, Inc. (OPT) has completed the first of its new generation utility-scale PowerBuoy device, the PB150. (Earlier post.) The PB150 PowerBuoy, with a peak-rated output of 150 kW, is the largest and most powerful wave power device designed by OPT to date, and is designed for use in arrays for grid-connected power generation projects.

The PowerBuoy 150. Click to enlarge.

The OPT PowerBuoys are point absorbers, with a linear generator for a power take-off system. The PB150 is 135 feet in length, and has a maximum diameter of 36 feet near the ocean surface.

The PowerBuoy 150 is currently being prepared for ocean trials at a site approximately 33 nautical miles from Invergordon, off Scotland’s northeast coast. The sea trials are expected to commence as soon as weather conditions permit. The Company is seeking additional financing for the commercial utilization of the buoy after the trial phase is completed including its possible deployment at various potential sites. A second PB150 is already under construction in the US for a proposed utility-scale project in Oregon, and the Company is involved in other planned projects in Australia, Japan and Europe that may utilize the PB150.

OPT’s PowerBuoy has a low visual profile, as most of the structure is submerged, and is designed to have a minimal environmental impact. The Company has experience with in-ocean performance of its PowerBuoys, including its PB40 system which has been operating off Oahu, Hawaii, since December 2009 and has subsequently been connected to the grid. That system was developed under a multi-year project for the US Navy and the PowerBuoy underwent an independent environmental assessment. This resulted in a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI). Last year, OPT signed an agreement with 11 US federal and state agencies and three non-governmental stakeholders for the phased development of a 1.5 megawatt wave power project at Reedsport, Oregon.



150 kW is way off from five or seven MW that a wind turbine is capable of. It would take more than thirty of these gadgets to equalize the power output of one wind turbine. An interesting comparison would be the overall volumetric ratio based on the power output of both types and the material (mass and price) ratio based on the power comparison.


Good pts Voatmon. But you might have a windless day when this thing is still generating power.
Hawaii is so far from fossil fuels that it needs to explore other options.


With Hawaii's active volcanoes, why couldn't the entire island chain be powered by geothermal?


I can assure you that wind turbines started out much smaller than they are today.
After this technology matures and is further down the learning-curve GE will take hold of it and make 10MW or larger machines.



Hawaii could easily be powered by geothermal. Electricity rates average about $0.30/kW/h and, IIRC, about 80% of their electricity comes from oil fired generators. Also, IIRC, these generators suck down about 25,000bpd of oil. Not trivial.


Just checked my numbers: Hawaii consumes about 116,000bpd of oil. About 34,000 of that goes to electricity production.

Henry Gibson

Where is the in service yearly average of these wave energy devices mentioned. The same question applies to wind installations and solar installations.

What is the total cost per kilowatt hour for the energy from these devices. This also must include the capital cost and the operating cost of fossil fuel powered generators when these devices are not producing power. The CO2 equivalent of these devices must also include the fossil fuel used to supply power when these devices are not producing power at their advertised rate.

The only reason that power cost so much in Hawaii is the actions of the US government which support the oil speculators. The automobiles in Hawaii also use a lot of oil. Coal could be imported from Australia to make electricity.

It requires 1.75 tonnes of coal to supply the energy of 1 tonne of oil. At this rate 256 kg of coal can supply the energy of one barrel of oil. At $75 a tonne of coal this would be less than $20 a barrel equivalent. A few years ago Peabody energy had gross revenues on coal of only $20 a ton which means that an oil equivalent would be 5 dollars a barrel.

Some grades of Coal can be produced at opencast mines at about $5 a tonne. This can be converted to diesel or jet fuel right at the mine which would give an energy cost of $2.5 dollar a barrel if the energy conversion efficiencies were only 50 percent. Even at $80 a ton for coal the diesel in this process would have an energy cost of $40 a barrel.

Hawaii could generate electricity from imported liquid natural gas, but the environmentalists supported almost entirely by the fossil fuel industries always block the importing of liquid natural gas.

Coal is dirty? Not one shore bird would die if all the coal exported every year from Australia were dumped in the ocean ten miles from Oahu. What about the birds on the shores of the famous Gulf of last year.

There is one clear, super-low-CO2 and affordable source for electric and other forms of energy, but lies are being propagated by the speculators with their vast amounts of money derived from US government and other governments' supported speculations to the point that people present the lies as truth. The biggest lies are the present understandings of the words "sustainable" and "renewable". Where is the cane sugar ethanol being produced in Hawaii, and is there enough land for cane ethanol to produce sufficient fuel for all the power plants and all of the automobiles in Hawaii? No.

Three hundred years ago there was not enough forests to fuel the homes and industries of the UK and there is not now and there will never be enough. Now speculate about the amount of sunlight available there year round for solar electricity. ..HG..


More dithering with uneconomic now, and uneconomic forever, low power density psuedo energy solutions that are subsidy inspired sand castles in the air.

None of these will ever result in any significant acceptance other than in the fevered religious dreams of modern-day Druids.

End the subsidies, and watch them dissolve into vaporous phantasms quickly.


What a waste of resources. How many hundreds of tons of steel are used to produce the power that a small diesel engine would produce? Plus this monstrosity only produces power when the waves are high enough.


I think the point all along is that these would be installed in "arrays". Where offshore wind farms are spread out over large areas, these power buoy arrays could have many more buoys per acre. I would imagine that if the maximum amount of buoys were put into the same acreage as the Cape Wind project or other projects around the world, that the total array could provide much more total power with less variability than wind.



End the subsidies?
Do you know who's going to get over $40 billion in subsidies over the next 10 years?
The oil industry. And here's the kicker; the top 5 oil companies made $1 trillion in PROFITS during the last 10 years.


You could multiply your amounts by 5X to get closer to the truth.


I said "profits" not revenue.

John Murray

Re: comments above. These Bouy's are designed to generate power 24/7 not just when the "waves are high". Wave power is steady and predictable, so energy grid storage is virtually eliminated when compared to wind. Here in MA near cape cod the recent off shore wind farm was fought tooth and nail by local groups because of its "view". These Buoy's are less than 50 ft tall. Also, I see no reason why an off shore wind farm would not also have a buoy at each "pole". The electrical infrastructur would be in place to handle both electrical generators, and the buoy could be just a part of the tower/pole. Another key concern was the potential for collisions, buoy's have well understood coastal navigation effects for boats and no impact on birds or small aircraft. The comment about arrays is correct Spain, Australia, and Oregon are installing Multiple megawatt generating arrays.

I was looking for any insight as to how the Hawaiian installation did after the tsunami? Anyone know or hear anything. Its been operating since 2006 but this tsunami would have been the most stressful operating condition yet.

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