BC firm plans $15M demonstration of wave energy conversion technology
SyncWave Energy (SWE), in Pemberton, British Columbia is preparing to conduct a three-year, $15-million project to demonstrate the cost-effectiveness of its SyncWave Power Resonator, a frequency-based technology the company says represents a radically new approach to capturing the energy in ocean waves. SyncWave is a free-floating, self-reacting point-absorber system that is expected to dramatically improve the economics of wave energy.
SWE president and CEO Nigel Protter described recent prototype tests as "an enormous breakthrough" in proving the technology and advancing the science of low-cost wave energy conversion. "Our prototype device, nicknamed 'Charlotte', exceeded our expectations and helped to refine our simulation models to a new level of sophistication," he said, adding, "We're now committed to moving ahead with partners on a three-year, $15-million demonstration project off the west coast of British Columbia, Canada." The company aims to have its technology commercially available, with a supply chain in place, by 2009.
The SyncWave Power Resonator is made up of two floats and a controller deployed in deep waters offshore. Continuous wave motion causes the floats to heave out of phase due to differences in their physical properties. The SyncWave Energy Latching System (SWELS) controller optimizes their relative motion, compelling the SyncWave device to resonate with the dominant frequency of the wave spectrum, much the same way an antenna tunes to a radio signal. This delivers consistent energy to the power take-off, which is converted to electricity and transmitted to shore by undersea cable.
SWELS also tracks changes in sea state and wave frequency over time, making corrections as needed to keep the system operating at peak productivity and limit its operation to a safe range in heavy seas.
The company says its low-impact, durable and highly productive electricity generation technology can bring the cost of wave energy down to levels affordable by industry and consumers, i.e. for as little as five cents (U.S.) per kilowatt-hour.