Northwest Energy Innovations (NWEI) announced it successfully deployed its Azura wave energy device earlier this month at the U.S. Navy Wave Energy Test Site (WETS) near Kaneohe Bay, Oahu, Hawaii.
The company said its device is in deployment for the next 12 months and is grid-connected for power generation testing in an effort to commercialize marine hydrokinetic (MHK) energy through its Azura technology.
“As the first grid-connected wave energy device in the U.S. that will be tested and validated by an independent party, this deployment marks a major milestone for our team and the marine renewable energy industry,” said NWEI Chief Executive Officer Steve Kopf.
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), the U.S. Navy and the University of Hawai’i support Azura deployment and testing at WETS, according to the company.
The Hawaii Natural Energy Institute, an organized research unit of the School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology of the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa is working in conjunction with the DOE and will run its own tests to confirm the device performs as predicted in computer simulations.
According to a NWEI company press release, “In addition to evaluating system performance in the open ocean over an extended period of time, data collected during the deployment will enable NWEI to develop a more accurate assessment of the technology’s Levelized Cost of Energy (LCOE), which accounts for capital cost, project development cost, life cycle costs, and annual energy production.
“The data will also be used to validate computer simulations to support commercialization of the Azura technology.”
Kopf said he thinks independently verifying Azura performance data is imperative to the system achieving commercialization.
Of the many challenges MHK energy must overcome, its ability to generate reliable, cost-effective energy through a commercially competitive system compared to existing power generation is paramount.
Azura technology development 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. NWEI said it recently secured an exclusive technology license from Callaghan Innovation to commercialize Azura technology.
EHL plays a critical role in advancing the technology and is responsible for the engineering, fabrication and testing Azura’s power conversion system.