Connecting a swarm of wave energy converters to the grid

Technology News |
By Nick Flaherty

The Phase II SBIR project from the US Department of Energy continues work by Oscilla to connect a 50MW farm of its Triton wave energy devices into a power grid. The work is expected to indicate that large farms of wave energy devices can produce more reliable power than existing wind or solar plants.

The Triton Wave energy Converter (WEC) is a surface float connected by three tendons to a ring-shaped, vertically asymmetric heave plate architecture that captures energy from the ocean in all six degrees of freedom (heave, pitch, surge, roll, and yaw) enabling power to be produced across a very wide range of wave conditions.

“Although ocean waves have very high short-term variability, they are much more consistent over longer periods of time, which is a key advantage of wave energy. Understanding how very large farms of devices interact may help us identify further optimizations that will drive down the costs of utility-scale wave energy,” said Tim Mundon, VP Engineering for Oscilla.

Oscilla Power will be working with Brayton Energy to develop the energy storage component of this new work. Brayton has previously developed an underwater compressed air energy storage system with the US DoE and Navy. Oscilla Power will also be working with experts from Oregon State University and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory to help understand the array and interconnection aspects for a 50MW farm of wave energy devices.

Oscilla is currently completing the construction of the Triton-C prototype, a 100kW wave energy converter that is expected to be tested in Hawaii next year.

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