Sea Technology

JAN 2018

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www.sea-technology.com January 2018 | ST 13 ment. The aggregate result is fundamental science and engineering knowledge—the bedrock for a successful, market-driven marine energy industry. The following are just some of the successes achieved during the last year by the Energy Department's national labs, WPTO fund- ing opportunity recipients and numerous project partners across the country. System Design and Validation WPTO's strategy focuses primarily on technology re- search and design tools to enable cost reductions and performance improvements of wave energy concepts. This research involves testing proof-of-concept systems in laboratory and ocean settings to understand perfor- mance characteristics, identifying and mitigating reliabil- ity risks and providing data to inform future research to improve early-stage designs across the industry. Wave Energy Prize Competition. This 18-month, de- sign-build-test competition catalyzed the largest single leap in wave energy device technology, with four teams exceeding the competition goal of doubling energy cap- ture potential from wave energy devices. The grand-prize winner, AquaHarmonics, produced a five-fold perfor- mance potential increase over state-of-the-art devices and a potential reduction in projected energy costs of 50 percent by 2030. WPTO partnered with the U.S. Navy on the competition, with final tests occurring at the Na- val Surface Warfare Center's Maneuvering and Seakeep- ing (MASK) Basin in Carderock, Maryland—the nation's most advanced wave-making facility. Azura Evaluation. Azura, a prototype wave energy device developed by Northwest Energy Innovations, was the nation's first grid-connected wave energy device in- dependently tested by a third party in the open ocean. The device, which was installed in the 30-m test berth at the Navy's Wave Energy Test Site (WETS) in Kaneohe Bay, off the island of Oahu, Hawaii, demonstrated remarkable reliability, with 98 percent uptime over 19 months and survival through Hurricanes Ignacio and Lester. The de- vice validated electricity price models while increasing knowledge of operations and maintenance costs. ABB Generator. ABB and project partners, including Texas A&M's Advanced Electrical Machines Lab and Res- olute Marine Energy, developed and tested an integrated magnetic-gear generator with the potential to convert low-speed, high-torque waves into grid-ready electrici- ty more economically than current solutions, according to ABB. The magnetically-geared generator was tested at ABB's corporate research lab in Raleigh, North Carolina. The prototype was part of WPTO-funded research into novel direct-drive generators that could eliminate hy- draulic components in some wave energy power take-off systems. Innovative solutions such as this one help drive down the cost of wave energy. Advanced Controls. The Sandia National Laboratories engineering team designed, modeled and tested a wave energy converter control system that doubles the amount of power a converter can absorb from ocean waves, mak- ing electricity produced from wave energy less expen- sive. The team applied classical control theory, robotics Review&Forecast Investing in Fundamental Wave Energy R&D: 2017 Success Stories By Alejandro Moreno Director, Water Power Technologies Office Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy U.S. Department of Energy T he U.S. Department of Energy's Water Power Technologies Office (WPTO) is advancing cutting-edge technologies to grow and modernize the U.S. hydro- power fleet and drive U.S. leadership in the emerging marine energy sector, while delivering low-cost pow- er, resiliency and energy security to the nation's power grid. WPTO recognizes and supports the potential of ma- rine energy technologies—which harness the energy of waves, tides, river currents and ocean currents—to pro- vide millions of Americans with locally-sourced, clean and reliable energy. Marine energy technologies could also provide cost-effective energy for numerous distrib- uted and alternate applications, such as forward-operat- ing military bases, remote communities and desalination technology in the nearer term. Marine energy is an emerging global industry. In the past, available technology and engineering know-how could not meet the formidable challenge of creating re- liable energy from turbulent, corrosive seas or rushing rivers. Today's advancements in computer modeling, sen- sors, materials and other basic tools of technology inno- vation—many of which are the result of WPTO-funded research—have put the United States closer than ever before to harnessing the vast potential of its marine en- ergy resources. From the tidal basins of New England to the powerful waves off the Pacific Northwest, developed marine energy plants could deliver forecastable, reliable electricity to the nation's electric grids (http://bit.ly/2B f5LS8). Yet significant challenges to marine energy develop- ment persist. Marine energy technologies are at an early stage of development due to the fundamental scientific and engineering challenges of generating power from dy- namic, low-velocity and high-density waves and currents while surviving in corrosive ocean environments. These challenges are intensified by high costs and lengthy per- mitting processes associated with in-water testing. To meet these challenges, WPTO funds marine energy re- search and development in four primary areas: system design and validation; testing infrastructure; resource characterization; and environmental monitoring instru- mentation research and development. Work in each area provides the marine energy industry with fundamental tools, research and innovations that tackle specific chal- lenges hindering marine energy technology develop-

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