The US is one of the biggest and most important energy markets there is, and now Kiwi wave technology is being trialled off the Oregon coast for the next two months.
The 18.4-metre long, 20 kW device will generate electricity and data to enable further development towards full-scale commercialisation.
The deployment of the Wave Energy Technology-NZ (WET-NZ) wave energy converter, in partnership with US company Northwest Energy Innovations, follows a US Department of Energy grant worth nearly US$2 million.
“This US deployment is a great opportunity to promote New Zealand technology in one of the world’s most important energy markets,” says WET-NZ’s Gavin Mitchell, general manager industry engagement at Industrial Research Ltd. “Success of the design will show us as being global leaders in wave energy."
WET-NZ, a research collaboration between IRL and private Wellington company Power Projects Ltd (PPL), developed the device’s ‘brains’, an innovative power pod designed to extract as much energy as possible from more than one type of wave motion - heave (up and down), surge (back and forth) and pitch (a rolling back and forth motion).
Moored to the sea floor in an upright position, the device reacts to the movement of passing waves, with the energy from those movements converted into electricity by a system of on-board hydraulics.
The half-scale device being tested off the Oregon coast is the culmination of eight years of research, based on the results of deployments at various sites around New Zealand as well as extensive wave tank modelling.