Columbia Power Technologies, Inc., an Oregon-based wave energy company, successfully deployed a prototype of their flagship offshore technology named SeaRay in Puget Sound, Washington, moving it towards commercial availability.
A prototype of the SeaRay was sent out into the Puget Sound where it was tested for its multi-megawatt peak output, inherent survivability, extreme operational range, low maintenance, low environmental and stakeholder impact, and competitive cost of energy.
“The SeaRay is performing beyond our expectations and tracking well with modeling predictions. Our task is to demonstrate to utilities and independent power producers that we can help them deliver power predictably, reliably, and at a cost that is competitive,” explained Reenst Lesemann, chief executive officer of C.P.T.
“At this stage, we are making this happen in a very rapid and capital-efficient manner,” he added.
The prototype is a buoy that is designed to be anchored 2.5 miles or four kilometers off the Oregon coast, 39 meters deep in the water. The rise and fall of the ocean’s waves causes magnets inside the float to move up and down freely around a coil. Because of the changing magnetic field created by movement of the magnets, voltage is generated.
Through the heave- and surge-energy capture design, the device can access the full potential of a wave. With this, the company believes that they can generate twice the amount of energy from ocean waves compared with other technologies. The company boasts that even in adverse sea conditions their technology can produce energy.
The world’s oceans are estimated to contain enough extractable energy to provide over 6,000 terawatt hours of electricity annually. This is enough to power over 600 million homes.
Columbia Power Technologies, founded in 2005 by Greenlight Energy Resource, is partnered with Oregon State University, developing and commercializing wave energy harvesting technologies.