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United States Power The Military Technology

Prototype Wave Energy Device Passes Grid-Connected Pilot Test 51

coondoggie writes: A prototype wave energy device advanced with backing from the Energy Department and U.S. Navy has passed its first grid-connected open-sea pilot testing. According to the DOE, the device, called Azura, was recently launched and installed in a 30-meter test berth at the Navy's Wave Energy Test Site (WETS) in Kaneohe Bay, on the island of Oahu, Hawaii. This pilot testing is now giving U.S. researchers the opportunity to evaluate the long-term performance of the nation’s first grid-connected 20-kilowatt wave energy converter (WEC) device to be independently tested by a third party—the University of Hawaii—in the open ocean, the DOE said.
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Prototype Wave Energy Device Passes Grid-Connected Pilot Test

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  • by Rinikusu ( 28164 ) on Monday July 06, 2015 @07:37PM (#50058967)

    STARBLAZERS IS REAL??? Yesssssssssssss!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    non capitalized content here.

  • Interesting. However, I wouldn't mind a more skeptical group also evaluating this type of technology.
  • Is the project head named Baron Von Westphalen?

  • by tomhath ( 637240 ) on Monday July 06, 2015 @07:53PM (#50059063)
    DOE tests NWEI's WEC at WETS to gather performance data on MHK technologies. Then they spell out "megawatt" and "kilowatt".
  • ... is a large inductive coil aligned with the high tension power lines behind my house.

    • by delt0r ( 999393 )
      You laugh, but it has been done before. And they have gotten into trouble for stealing electricity.
      • by Anonymous Coward

        YUP. Giant power cable towers cross the freeway near my home and the lines cross over a neighbors backyard. He had a setup buried in the dirt in his yard that pulled a pretty considerable amount of power.

        I have no idea how they detected what he was doing, or even why it would technically be illegal to harvest the power radiated onto his property, but he was sued and had to settle for several thousand dollars (and of course remove his equipment).

        My thought was that the power company should offer the damn t

        • ... that way they recover some wasted energy ...

          The electromagnetic field energy he was draining was not 'wasted' - it would've just oscillated back and forth as normal. Once he started coupling to it, it started pulling actual power, so he was stealing power that would've otherwise been transmitted down the line.

  • What are the effects on the area downstream (for lack of a better term) of the ecosystenm where the energy is extracted?

    I'm not saying it will be bad or good or negligible but I rarely see the effects of energy extraction mentioned in stories about wind/water/solar power systems.

    • I would suggest incredibly negligible. When you consider that a cargo ship moving through the area is producing orders of magnitude more disturbance than these systems would ever absorb.

    • At 20 KW I'm not very worried since that is only about 25hp, or put another way, a small boat motor. I might wonder about consequences if this device were extracting tens of gigawatts of power.
    • Basically we have 3 choices:
      1, Say fuck the environment and install all kind of bird-choppers and fish shreaders as renewable energy generators, that usually take more energy to make and install than they'll ever produce.
      2. Go big with fission, gen 4 uranium for now, thorium in the near future, that way we might get a hydrogen economy off the ground too and really protect the environment
      3. Stay the present course, it hasn't warmed for over 18 years anyway.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I wonder if the professor built this system out of bamboo, Kaneohe bay is where the set for Gilligan's island was located. It is a beautiful place and it is interesting that they chose this location (essentially a residential area and an area with a lot of civilian and military boat traffic) to perform this experiment.

  • by RandomAdam ( 1837998 ) on Monday July 06, 2015 @08:32PM (#50059305)
    Built by EHL in New Plymouth, NZ. []

    Northwest provided funding and some technical knowledge. However this story vastly overstates their contribution to the project. There is no mention of Callaghan Innovations https://www.callaghaninnovatio... [] or EHL. EHL engineers went to Hawaii to install and commission the generator and made sure it was working.

    This is a New Zealand lead innovation; unfortunately the NZ government in their infinite wisdom pulled funding when the tech was about 80% proven. Thus forcing Callaghan to look elsewhere for funding.

    There was also no mention that this is the second deployment of the device; it has already spent a year in the water and come back in for upgrades before this deployment in Hawaii. The upgrades were mainly around hydraulics and electrical systems to improve the consistency of the device and increase the power output.

    The next gen device is currently in development with improvements based on what has been learned from the previous deployment and this current deployment; it has been in the water in Hawaii for about six weeks now.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Agreed. The article found here:
      gives a much less bias view of what is going on and is closer to the truth.

      Callaghan Innovations did all the research and development and own the patent. Before NWEI involvement, the device was deployed at Akaroa (Christchurch) and Moa point (Wellington).

      NWEI just bought an exclusive license to commercialise the device but they will likely need the original developers' in New Zealand to commercialise it.

      It is sad to see ho

    • There's more information about the project at [] and they do say the initial development was by Callaghan Innovation.

      There's a video showing the operation and a diagram showing the design. See []

  • The prospect of wave energy - which is far less intrusive than wind power - is very attractive (OK, so I live in the UK with plenty of coastline compared with the deprived USA). Yet instead we persist in throwing stupid amounts of money at everything else...
    • It may be attractive, but it is not very promising.
    • Lol, the US has the second most coastline after Canada, and much of theirs is locked in ice for a fair part of the year and is far from their population centers making it less useful for power generation.

      • It's about distance from the sea - though I'll admit I didn't say it. Most of the USA is hundreds of miles from the sea; nowhere in the UK is more than 75.
        • by afidel ( 530433 )

          51% of the US population lives in the counties on the coasts, if you extend it to within 100 miles of the coast it's over 66%, population density near wave power is not going to be a limiting factor for effectiveness.

      • If you want to compare the potential for wave energy between two countries, you probably shouldn't look at the mere number of km of coastline, but to the length of the coastline compared to the number of inhabitants, or compared to the actual energy consumption in those countries.
        • by afidel ( 530433 )

          133,312km of coastline 319M people for for 418km per million inhabitants

          19,717km of coastline for 64M people for 308km per million inhabitants

          US 13,394 kwhr per capita
          UK 5,700 kwhr per capita

          So on a coastline per capita per kwhr the UK is ahead by a fair bit, but mostly because the US consumption is 235% higher. Ultimately though we have to bring our consumption in line with resources available so the coastline per capita number is the more interesting one to me.

    • by Jeremi ( 14640 )

      The prospect of wave energy - which is far less intrusive than wind power - is very attractive

      The upside of wave power is that water is relatively dense, and thus moving water carries a lot of energy in a small volume. The downside is maintenance costs... they don't call water the "universal solvent" for nothing, and salt water in particular tends to eat anything you leave in contact with it for very long.

  • Just wait until Al Gore releases his next film about us stealing too much energy from the moon's angular momentum and slowing down the earth until it destroys all life on earth. []

    • by Burz ( 138833 )

      You confused tidal energy with wave energy. The latter comes from wind driven by the sun.

      The potential for exploiting tidal energy on Earth is rather low. You cannot setup a tidal energy collector just anywhere.

  • Maybe its just me but I found that article to be less than useless. Their company site may read like a commercial brochure but it seems quite a bit more informative about the actual technology. []

    • by smaddox ( 928261 )

      This looks completely different than any wave energy production I've seen before. It looks promising.

    • If you want an even better overview of the systems look at []

      From the site:

      Development of the Azura technology is a collaborative effort between NWEI, Callaghan Innovation, and Energy Hydraulics Ltd (EHL). Callaghan Innovation led the conceptualization and early development of the technology in New Zealand, and NWEI recently secured a global exclusive technology license from Callaghan Innovation to commercialize the Azura technology. EHL plays a critical role in advancing the technology and is responsible for the engineering, fabrication, and testing of the power conversion system.

      I have seen this device "in person" and it is pretty cool. As it was built a few minutes from where I live in New Plymouth, NZ.

  • That's for like, what.... a quadplex, at most?
    • Research / prototype full scale is 500kW +
    • by afidel ( 530433 )

      Closer to 40 households, UK electricity consumption per household was 4,648KWhr/year in 2010 which comes out to .53KWhr/hour.

      • by mark-t ( 151149 )
        Average power consumption != peak usage. The power rating for this was 20kw, which suggests that 20kw is its peak providing capacity. It could only meet the needs of 40 households if each of them had radically differing peak usage patterns.
  • by Jimbookis ( 517778 ) on Tuesday July 07, 2015 @04:58AM (#50060995)
    This 250kW wave unit is being connected to the grid in South West Victoria in Australia in a few months. []

"How many teamsters does it take to screw in a light bulb?" "FIFTEEN!! YOU GOT A PROBLEM WITH THAT?"