South west ocean energy trial success

The following comes from the Warrnambool Standard, journalist: SHANE FOWLES.

The prospects of ocean energy being generated in the south-west have soared with the successful trial of BioPower Systems’ technology.

The company has completed testing of its O-Drive module and has confirmed it will run a pilot demonstration off the Port Fairy coastline.

It also intends to produce a 1MW commercial unit, having secured land access and development rights near Port Fairy last year.

BioPower Systems yesterday announced its full-scale testing had delivered stable power to the grid over extended periods, at a high level of efficiency.

“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,” BioPower Systems chief executive officer Timothy Finnigan said.

“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.

“We are very pleased with the efficiency of this system, and with the quality of power that is produced.”

The company has previously stated that the project had the potential to create up to 200 jobs through its various developmental and production stages.

“This stretch of coastline (off Port Fairy) is well known around the world as a premiere location for wave energy development,” Dr Finnigan has said.

“The strength and consistency of the swell here is phenomenal.”

Dr Finnigan said the system was designed to be detached from a moored ocean energy system, enabling easy and cost-effective maintenance.

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

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.”

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