Underwater surveillance requires a certain supply of persistent power around the coasts, harbors, piers and offshore areas of this nation. Wave energy provides that certainty and reliability because nothing stops the supply chain of power from the roiling sea.
So the US Navy just awarded Lockheed Martin and Ocean Power Technologies a $15 million 4 year contract to provide wave power for terrorism prevention around the coasts. The collaboration holds the promise for finally bringing utility scale wave power to civilian use as well: there’s 2 Terawatts of wave energy potential around the world’s coasts. Twice what the entire world uses now.
Ocean energy is one of the forms of potential renewable energy that has yet to be deployed at utility scale, despite its promise. Lone mechanical genius inventors dominate the field. Some are pretty way out there.
But that is likely to change now with this collaboration between the military contracting giant and the innovative wave energy company: Lockheed reported $42.7 billion in earnings last year. Ocean Power Technologies – not so much. But that could change.
Lockheed brings its big corporate experience in getting military contracts. And systems integration, lean manufacturing, and test and optimization analysis. Ocean Power Technologies brings the lone genius goodies: patented technologies using integrated hydrodynamics, electronics, energy conversion and computer control systems with control and SCADA capability for making and scaling up wave power and bringing it to shore. The US Navy brings a new determination to utilize more renewable power.
Each Ocean Power Technologies PowerBuoy® is a 150 kW floating point absorber, with a linear generator for a power take-off system. The buoy not only is scalable, but the structure is designed so it can generate power in a wide combination of storm wave, tidal, and wave currents, in waves of from 5 to 20 feet making it suitable for many sources of potential ocean power.
To bring the power to shore, Ocean Power Technologies has also developed a patent pending and scalable design for an Underwater Substation Pod out at sea that can economically aggregate the energy from up to ten units and bring it to the coast in a single transmission cable.
And the future? The military contractor and the lone genius have agreed to collaborate on future utility-scale power generation projects for the USA. This could be what brings 2 Terawatts of wave power to the world. We all need persistent power. And the persistent jobs that come with that!
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Images: Flikr user Katerina and Ocean Power Technologies
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