About two months ago we reported that New Jersey based Ocean Power Technologies had completed construction on its 150 kilowatt (peak) PowerBuoy (PB150) in Invergordon, Scotland. At the time, the company said it had to wait for weather conditions to calm before sea trials of the wave-energy device could commence. Apparently, the weather finally decided to cooperate as we learn that the PB150 was successfully deployed at sea last month.
The 136 foot long PB150 is designed to float in the ocean and harness the energy of passing waves. Below the surface of the water, a giant pendulum-like apparatus swings back and forth under the force of passing waves. In doing so, the pendulum cranks a generator which produces electricity.
OPT’s ocean trials are being conducted at a site roughly 33 nautical miles from Invergordon, off Scotland’s northeast coast, and are expected to last up to three months. OPT says that a broad range of operations and functional tests are being performed. Engineers in both the US and UK are examining the response of the PowerBuoy’s structure and mooring system to the waves and the power that is being produced by the on-board generator. OPT has also placed a wave data buoy near the site which is providing detailed information about incoming waves. Trial data is being transmitted to the engineers for analysis in real time.
Construction on a second PB150 is already underway in Oregon. OPT has reported that it anticipates construction and deployment of that unit will occur later this year. The deployment off the Oregon coast near Reedsport will provide testing data as well but, once its assessment is completed, OPT says it plans to deploy up to nine more of the devices along with a grid connection infrastructure which the company says would constitute the first commercial-scale wave power station in the US.