What does matter, however, is that the device stay in tune with the shifting power of the waves; the better it does that, the more efficiently it will pull energy from the ocean. The Neptune team accomplishes this by moving the pendulum inward or outward from the shaft to match the power of the waves – in essence, shifting gears up and down to keep torque as high as possible without stalling out. At the same time, power from the shaft to the generator is adjusted to find that perfect spot where production is maximized without stopping the system.
In the New Hampshire test, which Mayfield said verified the patented tuning technology, Neptune’s engineers adjusted the device remotely, via wireless communication, but down the road they aim to automate the process.
Mayfield said the device will come out of the water soon, before winter. The company’s planned next steps – as it searchers for series B venture funding – will then be to refine the 3-meter device while concurrently developing a 15-meter model that would be closer to the ultimate size envisioned.