Ocean Power Technologies utility-scale wave energy device outperforms in sea tests

Source: Ocean Power Technologies, Inc

Ocean Power Technologies, Inc. (Nasdaq:OPTT) (OPT or the Company), a leading wave energy technology company, is pleased to announce that the first of its new generation utility-scale PowerBuoy® device, the PB150, has delivered better-than-expected initial results from tests being conducted off the northeast coast of Scotland. 

Rated at 150 kilowatts, this device was designed and developed by OPT to work in arrays of multiple PowerBuoys to generate renewable energy at commercial-scale wave power stations worldwide. It was deployed on April 15, 2011 for ocean trials at a site approximately 33 nautical miles from Invergordon, Scotland. The trials are expected to continue for an additional one to two months. 

Wave conditions encountered have included storm waves, and electrical power generated by the PB150 has included peaks of over 400 kilowatts. Average electrical power of 45 kilowatts was generated at wave heights as low as 2 meters. These levels of power exceeded OPT’s expectations of performance for this first PB150 deployment, and verifies that the system could produce up to 150 kilowatts on average, in higher wave conditions. 

On-board equipment replicates grid-connection conditions to ensure the PowerBuoy’s electrical systems are subjected to full operational testing for utility applications. The power take-off system’s performance has exceeded expectations with respect to its energy conversion efficiency in the irregular ocean wave conditions encountered. The device is transmitting data in real-time for analysis by OPT’s engineers in both the United Kingdom and the United States. A wave data buoy located near the site provides detailed information regarding incoming waves. Using that information, OPT’s engineers calculate the power levels that should be achieved by the PB150, and analyze these against actual power generation. The result of this process confirms the Company’s ability to predict accurately the PowerBuoy’s performance in varying wave conditions.

Dr. Philip R. Hart, Chief Technology Officer of OPT, said: “We are extremely pleased with the performance of the PB150. The results to date of this ocean trial, along with the Company’s experience with its grid-connected Hawaii PowerBuoy system, continue to build our confidence in the survivability, operating characteristics and energy generation capability of the PB150. The overall system performance has exceeded our expectations, and the energy production capability of the PowerBuoy demonstrates its ability to produce utility-grade power in dynamic wave conditions around the world.” 

The PB150 is performing in a wide range of sea conditions as OPT’s engineers have allowed the PowerBuoy to function freely in the incident sea and weather conditions. Functional and operational analysis has confirmed that the PB150 has met or exceeded all expected system performance. Since deployment the PB150 has remained on site, and has produced power in accordance with plan. Future planned maintenance can be performed in situ without relocating the PB150, which serves to reduce operating costs and reflects cost economies that result from the Company’s experience of nearly 15 years’ in marine energy operations and related infrastructure. 

Charles F. Dunleavy, Chief Executive Officer of OPT, added: “The excellent operating results and power generation of the PB150 are important milestones for our PowerBuoy technology, as OPT pursues planned projects elsewhere in the UK, Europe and beyond. We are grateful for the support this project has received from the Scottish Government, and the participation of various suppliers in the UK and Europe. In addition, the combined effort of OPT’s engineering, manufacturing and marine operations team has demonstrated the strength of the PowerBuoy brand.” 

The PB150 PowerBuoy was deployed using local maritime industry resources. During the ocean testing, periodic inspections of the system have been conducted utilizing Scottish marine operations personnel and vessels. In addition to using the services and fabrication capabilities of local companies for the PowerBuoy’s construction and deployment, OPT’s business strategy is to continue such partnerships with regional suppliers over the expected 25-30 year life cycle of PowerBuoy power stations.

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