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Lockheed Martin and OPT team up on Australian 19 MW wave energy project

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July 12, 2012

A wave energy project off the coast of Victoria, Australia will comprise 45 PowerBuoys (Ph...

A wave energy project off the coast of Victoria, Australia will comprise 45 PowerBuoys (Photo: OCT)

Lockheed Martin has teamed up with Ocean Power Technologies (OPT) to develop one of the world’s largest wave energy generation projects. The 19-megawatt project to be located off the southern coast of Australia in Portland, Victoria, will be built around OPT’s PowerBuoy technology that has previously been trialed by the U.S. Navy off the coast of New Jersey for powering remote sea-based radar and communications systems.

The PowerBuoy is a completely autonomous device that generates electricity via a sub-surface piston-like structure that is moored to the ocean floor and an electrical generator is driven by the mechanical rise and fall of the surface buoy as it bobs up and down on the ocean waves. The electricity generated is transmitted back to shore via an underwater cable.

The long-term agreement between the two companies will see Lockheed Martin assist OPT in the design and production of the PowerBuoy technology. The partnership agreement will also see Lockheed Martin assisting in marketing, supply, some component assembly and overall program management.

The two companies have previously collaborated on a number of projects, including the aforementioned New Jersey trial for the U.S. Navy and a utility-scale project proposed for Coos Bay, Oregon, which would consist of up to 200 PowerBuoys and produce up to 100 megawatts, making it the largest wave energy project in the world when completed.

The Victorian project will be partly funded by a AUD$66.5 million (approx. US$67.6 million) grant from Australia’s Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism awarded to OPT. The 19-megawatt project will comprise 45 PowerBuoys and five Undersea Substation Pods. It is expected to fulfill the energy needs of around 10,000 homes, with the potential for the project to be scaled up to 100 megawatts.

The animation below shows how the PowerBuoy works.

Source: Lockheed Martin, OPT

About the Author
Darren Quick Darren's love of technology started in primary school with a Nintendo Game & Watch Donkey Kong (still functioning) and a Commodore VIC 20 computer (not still functioning). In high school he upgraded to a 286 PC, and he's been following Moore's law ever since. This love of technology continued through a number of university courses and crappy jobs until 2008, when his interests found a home at Gizmag.   All articles by Darren Quick
7 Comments

The ocean is more than one dimension, the vid shows an up and down movement no yaw at all which is 100% incorrect...this devise in storm force winds would beat itself to pieces!

equator180
12th July, 2012 @ 08:02 pm PDT

Well spotted Equator. You should send the massive international corporation an email to let them know everyone in their team of specialists are morons.

breaker
12th July, 2012 @ 10:06 pm PDT

@equator180 the same could be said of windmills in high winds. It is a design challenge to build it light/cheap and still sustain extremes but we can and do and people make incremental improvements over time on the design and technology.

Diachi
12th July, 2012 @ 10:16 pm PDT

@equator180 struth cobber, you could save them millions if you get them to pull all the trial units out of New Jersey. If they get them out of the water quick enough, they may not self destruct.

It would be interesting to read about the marine life that is also attracted to these units (artificial reef), re recreational scuba diving and fishing, and how far off shore they will be. Though I can only assume there will be an exclusion zone.

ELM
13th July, 2012 @ 02:36 am PDT

CETO tech developed by Carnegie looks way better than this..

David Anderton
13th July, 2012 @ 04:22 am PDT

?? Why are you jumping on Equator. He was pointing out a flaw in the video. If they can't get a video correct it is highly likely they can't get the product right. I am not saying the company and all its employees are idiots. I am saying that equator had a good point.

That said most of the people that work on these projects are college educated and have little to no real world experience.

Considering all the epic failures in technology recently it is perfectly acceptable to doubt a product that isn't even made.

Michael Mantion
18th July, 2012 @ 07:09 pm PDT

Hi Michael,

You are correct about lack of details within concerned video but what is really challenging in deep water installations are anchoring systems. Those visual details are completely missing.

Here are two hints:

1. Captain Nemo and its Nautilus

2. Thor Heyerdahl and its Kon Тiki.

These hints stay away of many deep water conceptions.

Chavdar Azarov
2nd August, 2012 @ 01:27 am PDT
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