Ocean energy company, BioPower Systems (BPS), has completed the construction and onshore testing of a 250kW bioWAVE pilot demonstration unit.
The project is supported by an $11 million grant from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), a $5 million grant from the Victorian Government and $5 million equity from BPS.
The unique bioWAVE comprises a 26m tall oscillating structure that sways back-and-forth beneath the ocean swell, capturing energy from the waves and converting it into electricity fed into the grid via an undersea cable.
The structure is scheduled for deployment at Port Fairy, Victoria, later this year. The data collected from the project, combined with the experience gained, is expected to help drive down the cost of wave energy and contribute to further development of the bioWAVE towards commercial production.
Importantly, during infrequent extreme wave events the structure will automatically assume a ‘safe’ position, lying flat against the seabed. This reduces the structural design requirements – and hence cost – while maintaining reliability.
“Achieving practical completion of the bioWAVE is a major milestone in the development of this technology,” BPS chief executive officer Dr Timothy Finnigan said.
“We look forward to seeing it operating in the Southern Ocean, developing the next generation machine and exploiting the technology around the world.”
ARENA CEO Ivor Frischknecht said the $21 million project would further cement Australia’s position as a leader in renewable wave energy.
“Once successfully installed, it will be the second ARENA-supported device to supply wave energy to a major Australian grid, feeding 250kW into the National Electricity Market,” Mr Frischknecht said.