According to a Press Release dated February 5, 2010, OceanEnergy Ltd., an Irish company based in Cork and focused in the development of a new wave energy generator device, just signed an agreement with US company Dresser-Rand to develop and supply turbine electric generation technology. Dresser-Rand is a recognized leader in turbine technology with more than 62,000 in operation around the world.
Under the agreement, Dresser-Rand will develop and supply the turbines needed to transform wave energy into electricity using the OceanEnergy Buoy (OE Buoy). A scaled version of the OE Buoy has been tested in Atlantic Ocean waters during two years at a government test site on Galway Bay. The concept is the result of 7 years of research and development. An important characteristic of the device is that it only has one moving part: the turbine.
This is an original, simple and radical change when compared with other wave energy generators that usually have multiple parts in motion. The OE Buoy is hollow. It has a chamber inside. The bottom is open to allow the flow of ocean water inside in one direction: up or down. It is also open on top where the turbine is placed. It transforms the energy from the waves moving vertically inside the buoy which displaces the air within the chamber. The displaced air is used to move the turbine to generate electricity. Here is where Dresser-Rand turbines are used, the only moving element of the OE Buoy.
Ireland hopes to generate 600MW of electricity with these OE Buoys deployed on its coast. This will be enough energy for almost half a million homes. They also estimate 6,500 new jobs, the potential to export electricity as well as the new technology. The OE Buoy looks as a very simple engineering concept with lots of potential.
More information is available at OceanEnergy News.