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United States : Hydrokinetic power category lags offshore-wind industry by 10 to 15 years.

April 24, 2010
Sea Storm in Pacifica, w:California
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Charles Dunleavy learned about the raw energy of the ocean as a surfer off the shore of New Jersey. Now as chief executive of Ocean Power Technologies Inc., a wave-generation firm with 60 employees, his pedigree in the curl remains essential.

“I gained a very keen respect for the ocean waves, having gone out perhaps a little foolishly in post-hurricane-strength waves,” Dunleavy said in a recent interview in his company’s headquarters in Pennington, N.J. After years as a research firm, Ocean Power Technologies has faced the rough waves of Wall Street as a publicly traded company since 2007, competing for development dollars in an emerging business.

The company (OPTT 7.05, +0.06, +0.82%) floated its first 40-kilowatt buoy years ago, off the coast of New Jersey, as a prototype, and then deployed a similar design off the coast of Spain with power giant Iberdrola S.A. in September 2008. That model has given way to a bigger 150-kilowatt version that tips the scales at 200 tons and measures 140 feet long, with all but 25 feet below the surface of the water.

The heavy buoys remain stable in the waves, except for a giant doughnut-shaped float that moves up and down with the motion of the ocean. It generates plenty of stroke force to produce electricity.

Now Ocean Power will build its biggest buoy yet, capable of generating 500 kilowatts (enough power for 300 homes) and dwarfing the 150-kilowatt system. With its growing backlog of projects, including orders for four of the 500-kilowatt buoys, the company is now moving into the phase of early commercial development, according to Dunleavy.

Water energy already provides nearly a fifth of the world’s power, mostly in the form of hydropower from dams, but so far ocean-power generation remains mostly undeveloped around the globe. While profits remain elusive for now, the untapped force of the ocean is creating a swell of support from green-energy proponents from both the public and private sector.

The rewards could be vast as the seven seas. By one estimate put out by the World Energy Council, tapping power from tides and waves could theoretically double the world’s current output of electricity — offering a nearly boundless supply of emission-free energy.

Wave-power analyst Marianne Boust of IHS Emerging Energy Research said the business of aquatic generation in general remains in its development stages for now, as the latest designs go through long testing phases. The wave industry could reach 1.2 gigawatts by 2020, enough to power about 750,000 homes, and could reach 5 gigawatts by 2025, according to estimates from HIS Emerging Energy.

Copyright : Euclid Infotech Pvt. Ltd.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. April 24, 2010 8:00 am

    Nice site. Theres some good information on here. Ill be checking back regularly.

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