Wave Power Unit for Victorian Waters
BioPower Systems Pty Ltd (BioPower) has finished constructing its prototype wave power unit to be installed off the coast of Port Fairy, Victoria, later this year.
ARENA CEO Ivor Frischknecht congratulated BioPower on the achievement, which would advance the renewable wave energy industry in Australia.
“The $21 million project, supported by $11 million ARENA funding, aims to move BioPower’s bioWAVE technology towards commercialisation,” Mr Frischknecht said. “If successfully installed, it will be the second ARENA supported wave energy device supplying energy to a major Australian grid, feeding 250kW of renewable energy into the National Electricity Market.
“The bioWAVE unit is a 26 metre high steel structure that sways back and forth, mostly below the surface of the ocean. The design was inspired by undersea plants and the entire device can lie flat on the seabed out of harm’s way during bad weather.
“The oscillating motion activates hydraulic cylinders to spin a generator, with the power transported to the shore via a subsea cable.
“The site near Port Fairy is in the final stages of preparation for the arrival of the completed unit, with the onshore electrical equipment in place and divers working on subsea power and data cabling.”
Mr Frischknecht said BioPower had been working on the technology since 2006, taking it through an in-depth research and development phase to full-scale demonstration.
“This illustrates how new renewable energy generation ideas require substantial time, effort and cost to shape them into functional, commercial propositions,” Mr Frischknecht said. “The bioWAVE pilot is on track for installation in November 2015 and is expected to operate for at least 12 months, with testing throughout and an independent performance assessment at the conclusion.
“This data will inform the design of a larger 1MW commercial-scale bioWAVE unit, planned as the next phase of development for the technology.”
BioPower Systems CEO Dr Timothy Finnigan said achieving practical completion of the bioWAVE device is the most important milestone in the history of the development of the technology.
“It has been very satisfying to see it come together and to witness functional testing of the onboard systems,” Dr Finnigan said.