The Leading Edge

Funding increased for research in Canada’s Bay of Fundy

The Fundy Ocean Research Center for Energy (FORCE) has announced that the Bay of Fundy in Canada, the body of water housing the highest tides in the world, will host the first underwater monitoring platform designed for extreme, high-flow tidal conditions.

FORCE announced a new program in September to monitor tides in the area and advance tidal energy technology. The government of Canada, Ocean Networks Canada, Encana Corporation, and FORCE are supporting the program to the tune of $10 million.

According to a FORCE press release, the program will include the design, build and deployment phase for the first subsea monitoring platform capable of performing under extreme high-flow conditions, such as those in the Bay of Fundy. Subsea cabling will attach the platform to the observation facility onshore.

“When it comes to designing a successful tidal turbine for the Bay of Fundy, the more we know, the better. The project will take our understanding to the next level,” said John Woods, FORCE Chair and vice president for energy development for Minas Basin Pulp and Power. “We are installing a turbine in one of the fastest-flowing tidal races in the world, 40 meters below the surface of the ocean. We need to know everything we can about these conditions: current speeds, direction of flow, and how everything changes.”

According to the Ministry of Natural Resources, the funding “supports development of an instrumentation platform that will be cable-connected and enable research and development activities.”

The program will allow FORCE to collect continuous, synchronized data on currents, turbulence and other pertinent variables; perform real-time instrument adjustments; obtain better visualization of marine life behavior and movement; and gather information for future development of full-scale, high-flow turbines.

OPT, Mitsui sign deal; Keller added to OPT board of directors

U.S.-based wave energy developer Ocean Power Technologies Inc. and Mitsui Engineering & Shipbuilding Co. Ltd. have signed an agreement in the development and commercialization of OPT’s “PowerBuoy” generating technology.

The agreement builds on previous collaborations announced in November 2010 and October 2012. The newest document establishes terms of technology licensing and other financial arrangements between the parties with regard to OPT’s PowerBuoy system.

Per its terms, Mitsui has the licensed rights to OPT’s PowerBuoys for grid-connected and autonomous applications in Japan, the Philippines, Malaysia, Vietnam, Mozambique, South Africa and Namibia.

The license also provides for a 10-year term under which Mitsui has the exclusive rights to manufacture and sell PowerBuoys in its territory, in exchange for OPT royalty payments.

OPT will also sell MES all “Power Take-Off” systems to be integrated into the units sold by Mitsui.

In addition, the agreement stipulates that MES receives commission payments for customers referred to OPT from outside its territory, with MES holding the first right of refusal to manufacture equipment for those customers.

OPT is one of a number of companies that is receiving funding as part of the U.S. Department of Energy’s marine and hydrokinetic development program.

Also at OPT, David L. Keller has been elected to the company’s board of directors. Keller joins the board as former members David L. Davis and Bruce A. Peacock announced their retirement during the company’s annual meeting of stockholders earlier this month.

Keller is an independent director of ThermoEnergy Corporation, which engages in the global development, sales and commercialization of proprietary municipal and industrial wastewater treatment and power generation technologies.

He has also served as president, chief executive officer and director of Global Power Equipment Group Inc., preceded by time as president and chief operating officer of Babcock and Wilcox Company.

ASI-Marine among top 100 marine technology companies

ASI-Marine was included in the 8th annual edition of “MTR100” Marine Technology Reporter as one of the top 100 companies in the marine technology field. The company was listed as part of its parent company, ASI Group Ltd.

The engineering and technology company was honored for providing a reportedly “full-service approach” and a large fleet of remotely-operated vehicles.

ASI-Marine, based in Ontario, specializes in underwater inspections, marine geophysical and hydrographic surveys, and marine construction.

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The Leading Edge

DOE funds wave and tidal energy development

The U.S. Department of Energy has awarded a total of US$16 million to fund 17 wave and tidal energy programs.

The agency said its goal is to “help sustainably and efficiently capture power from waves, tides and currents,” with marine and hydrokinetic (MHK) generating sources being included as part of President Barack Obama’s “all-of-the-above” energy strategy.

Included in the agency’s allocations is $13.5 million in funding that will be used to help eight American entities build more efficient MHK projects. Meanwhile, an additional $2.4 million has been awarded to nine projects that will gather and analyze environmental data from wave and tidal projects, as well as potential areas of development.

The agency said the funding will ensure ecological impacts of this technology are addressed proactively.

Receiving DOE funding are: Dehlsen Associates LLC; Ocean Renewable Energy Company LLC; Resolute Marine Energy Inc.; ABB Inc., Columbia Power Technologies; Ocean Energy USA LLC; Ocean Power Technologies Inc.; the University of Maine; the Electric Power Research Institute Inc.; Oak Ridge National Laboratory; the University of Washington; Oregon State University; Florida Atlantic University; H.T. Harvey & Associates; and the Vantuna Research Group.

Columbia Power selects Siemens for wave energy project

Siemens Industry has been selected by Columbia Power Technologies to provide a segmented rotary generator for its utility-scale wave energy system, called “StingRAY.”

StingRAY is a floating offshore system that “represents the culmination of over 10 years of intensive, scaled development and testing,” Columbia Power said.

The commercial-scale unit will have a generating capacity of 1.5 MW, the company said, and will be tested at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s National Wind Technology Center beginning early next year.

Siemens said it will design a generator for the project using its existing segment motor construction kit.