Finavera Renewables Inc. (TSX-V: FVR.V) announced that it has successfully completed a major milestone in its wave energy development program with the deployment and commissioning of the AquaBuOY 2.0 wave energy converter off the coast of Newport, Oregon. This marks the first installation of a wave energy converter of this scale off the west coast of North America and moves the Company closer to achieving its goal of commercial electricity generation from ocean waves by 2010.
The AquaBuOY is a floating buoy structure that converts the kinetic energy of the vertical motion of oncoming waves into clean electricity.
The AquaBuOY 2.0 is situated approximately two and a half miles off the coast of Newport, Oregon. Over the next several weeks, Finavera Renewables will test and analyze the performance of the half-size prototype's components and monitor its hydraulic power output. During this phase, all onboard diagnostic equipment will be powered by an onboard Pelton turbine as well as solar panels and small wind turbines installed on the device. Data is being streamed live via wireless and satellite technology for analysis. This test data will be used for the design of a larger version, for commercial deployment, with a capacity of 250 kW, scheduled for construction in 2008. The current project does not generate power, rather the company wants to study the pressure output of the device.
The company is advancing along its project development plan with the phased installation of a multi-device wave park and commercial electricity generation by 2010. The Company currently has wave energy projects totaling more than 250 megawatts (MW) planned or under development on the west coast of North America.
A cluster of AquaBuOYs would have a low silhouette in the water. Located several miles offshore, the power plant arrays would be visible to allow for safe navigation and no more noticeable than a small fleet of fishing boats.
The AquaBuOY is categorized as a point absorber, defined as having a small dimension in relation to the longer wave length in which it is operating. It utilizes a cylindrical buoy as the displacer and the reactor is a large water mass enclosed by a long vertical tube underneath the buoy.
Safely positioned offshore, AquaBuOYs are being designed for 100 year storms by riding atop the extreme waves at sea, rather than experiencing catastrophic damage, as during tsunami, from the breaking waves onshore.
Energy transfer takes place by converting the vertical component of wave kinetic energy into pressurized seawater by means of two-stroke hose pumps. Pressurized seawater is directed into a conversion system consisting of a turbine driving an electrical generator. The power is transmitted to shore by means of a secure, undersea transmission line.
The AquaBuOY Consists of Four Elements:
- Acceleration Tube
- Hose Pump
The acceleration tube is a vertical, hollow cylinder rigidly mounted under the body of the buoy. The tube is open in both ends so seawater can pass unimpeded back and forth, forcing the piston to move, and in turn extend or compress the hose pumps.
Positioned at the midpoint of the acceleration tube is the piston, a broad, neutrally buoyant disk. When the buoy is at rest, the piston is held at the midpoint by the balanced tension of two hose pumps that are attached to opposite sides of the piston and extend to the top and bottom of the acceleration tube, respectively.
The hose-pump is a steel reinforced rubber hose whose internal volume is reduced when the hose is stretched, thereby acting as a pump. The pressurized sea water is subsequently expelled into a high-pressure accumulator, and in turn fed to a turbine which drives a generator. Generated electricity is brought to shore via a standard submarine cable.
Click here to view the AquaBuOY movie.