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Wednesday, 7 December 2011

BioPower Systems Power Module Grid-Tested And Ready For Sea Trials

Dec 07, 2011

bioWAVE is a wave power system, inspired by the swaying motions of kelp plants

Ocean energy company, BioPower Systems, announced that it has completed extensive tests of its full-scale O-Drive power conversion module, successfully delivering stable power to the grid over extended periods with a high level of efficiency.

The O-Drive 250kW module is designed to plug into wave and tidal energy systems, such as the company’s bioWAVE  and bioSTREAM. It is driven in an oscillating fashion to convert the ocean energy harnessed by such systems into grid-ready AC power.

The bioSTREAM technology has been extensively tested at 1:15 scale in state-of-the-art towing tank facilities. Click below to watch a video of a bioSTREAM model in operation.

Work commenced on the O-Drive in 2008 under a project partly funded by an Australian
Commonwealth Government REDI grant. The O-Drive combines a hydraulic circuit, an electric generator, and complex control algorithms to convert the characteristically large forces, and slow motions, inherent to ocean waves into a steady flow of electricity. A test rig was built to reproduce ocean forces and apply these to the O-Drive in order to perform tests.

“Ocean energy devices typically oscillate slowly in response to huge forces, and this presents a significant challenge in terms of harnessing the energy to produce electricity. The O-Drive solves this problem outright, as it not only gears up the motion, but also rectifies it and smooths it, so that we can produce grid-ready electricity using a standard electric generator” the CEO of BioPower Systems, Dr Timothy Finnigan, said. “We are very pleased with the efficiency of this system, and with the quality of power that is produced.”

The O-Drive is designed to be detached from a moored ocean energy system, which enables easy and cost-effective maintenance. It produces high-voltage power, which allows ocean energy systems to be installed even at substantial distances from shore, as the losses during transmission are minimal.
BioPower Systems will use the O-Drive module in a bioWAVE pilot demonstration off the coast of Victoria, Australia. The company also intends to produce a 1MW commercial version of bioWAVE, which would utilise four 250kW O-Drive TM modules.

“BioPower Systems has invested substantial capital and expertise to ensure that the O-Drive performs optimally and reliably before deployment” said Dr Finnigan.

The company is planning to offer turnkey ocean energy solutions to project developers. Ocean energy equipment, services and support will be provided to the companies that currently develop wind farms.

“We intend to adopt a similar business model to those used in the wind energy sector. It is well-proven,
and serves as a good precedent for ocean energy,” Dr Finnigan added.

Source: BioPower Systems

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