Reliability Enhancement and Preliminary Ocean Demonstration of Low Cost Wave Energy Harvester

Period of Performance: 01/01/2012 - 12/31/2012

$1MM

Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Oscilla Power, Inc.
419 Wakara Way, Suite 207 C
Salt Lake City, UT 84108
Principal Investigator
Firm POC

Abstract

Ocean wave energy has the potential to support 8% of domestic and global electricity demand. Despite considerable investment over the past decade, however, wave energy is unlikely to make a material contribution to domestic or global energy supplies unless new technologies with significantly lower capital costs and higher reliability than todays leading technologies can be developed and commercialized. Through this project, a novel wave energy harvesting technology that is enabled by low-cost magnetostrictive materials and requires no moving parts to generate electricity will undergo its first open- ocean demonstration. This technology has strong potential to deliver electricity at costs competitive with conventional power sources. In Phase I, design features that enable the technologys power generation modules to survive extreme waves were developed and tested. Prototype power generation modules were built and tested to show that they could withstand expected fatigue loads and hydrostatic pressure. Finally, detailed hydrodynamic modeling of the system was used to determine a system configuration for deployment in Phase II. In Phase II, a sub-scale wave energy harvester with 1:2 scale power generation modules will be designed, built and demonstrated at an open ocean test site. In addition, key components of the system will be demonstrated in the lab at the full scale. Successful execution of Phase II will sufficiently de-risk the technology such that the resources and partnerships can be secured for deployment and demonstration of a sub-scale system with full scale power generation modules, the final step before we build our first commercial-scale system. Commercial Applications and Other Benefits: Development and commercialization of the technology has the potential to significantly impact the renewable energy landscape by dramatically reducing the cost, improving the robustness and broadening the availability of wave energy. Successful development and commercialization of the technology will improve the nations competitiveness while reducing global emissions of greenhouse gases and other pollutants.