CASTINE, Maine – Wave energy technology developer Oscilla Power, the University of Maine’s Advanced Structures & Composites Center (ASCC) and the Maine Maritime Academy successfully deployed a 1/6 scale prototype of Oscilla’s 1 MW Triton™ wave energy converter (WEC) in Castine Harbor.
The goal of this project is to confirm the design and performance of Triton in a real-world operating environment, helping to inform the ongoing engineering design of Oscilla’s full-scale, 1 MW Triton WEC in 2024.
Due to the unique wave conditions in Castine the 1/6 scaled unit will operate in the same manner as a full-scale unit during this 12-week test. Winter wave conditions in Castine are approximately 1/6 the size of waves experienced on the US West Coast, and therefore provide an ideal representative ocean environment to test and evaluate the scaled Triton system.
A key goal of this testing is to be able demonstrate the ability of the WEC to survive extreme weather events through the use of a unique submerging ability which will enable the Triton to withstand even the harshest wave events. The testing will also be used to enable Oscilla to accurately predict the power that the full-scale system will generate in different wave conditions.
“While we have excellent design and computer-driven simulations, there is no substitute for running the unit through its paces in a real operating environment,” said Tim Mundon, Ph.D., Chief Technology Officer for Oscilla Power. “Thanks to the partnership with Maine Maritime Academy and the University of Maine, we’re able to complete this testing to validate our assumptions and numerical models to ensure our commercial production unit will perform as designed. This is a critical milestone in the design.”
Oscilla Power’s Triton wave energy converter will make ocean wave energy a viable resource that can complement solar and wind in many locations worldwide including the U.S. West Coast. The innovative design of the Triton overcomes the main limitations that have prevented ocean wave energy from being adopted previously by offering increased levels of energy capture, conversion efficiency, and survivability in the harsh ocean environment.
Building on nearly three decades of research and development, the University of Maine’s Advanced Structures and Composites Center (ASCC) was charged with the structural design and construction of a submerged concrete ring that serves as a heave plate for the WEC, as well as providing support for permitting, deployment, monitoring, and decommissioning for the project. This is the fourth technology that has been demonstrated and studied by the ASCC in the Castine location.
“We are pleased to support Oscilla Power by designing and fabricating the wave energy converter’s hull at UMaine’s Advanced Structures and Composites Center. This deployment marks an important step in helping develop local clean energy sources and local jobs,” said Anthony Viselli, Ph.D., PE, Assistant Director for Ocean Energy and Engineering at the ASCC.
Maine Maritime Academy’s world class waterfront and generations of leadership on the water have ensured that the prototype was successfully launched and secured in its testing site. Without their expertise, offshore energy testing and implementation would not be possible. Through this deployment and testing, they are training a new era of waterfront workforce in Maine that will continue to bolster the state’s economy.
“Partnering with Oscilla Power and the University of Maine to test technology at scale is vital to our contributions for workforce development and Mariner training at MMA,” said Keith Williamson, Ph.D., Provost, Maine Maritime Academy. “MMA’s waterfront campus gives our state a unique advantage to test and evaluate ocean technologies that will define our future workforce.”
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) through its Water Power Technologies Office has been a strong supporter of Oscilla Power as well as the overall wave power industry. DOE officials were onsite for the launch.
“Marine energy technologies have tremendous promise to provide clean, reliable power to remote and coastal communities as well as for offshore work,” said Jennifer Garson, Director, U.S. Department of Energy’s Water Power Technologies Office. “It is exciting to see Oscilla Power test the scaled prototype of its Triton wave energy converter in real world conditions and take an important step toward realizing the potential of marine energy.”