Wave Energy Technology – New Zealand in Oregon

Members may have noticed the press releases and magazine articles about the deployment of the WET-NZ device in Oregon. To remind members, WET-NZ and its US partner, bid for and was awarded funding by the US Department of Energy in September 2010.  Since then the project team has been working steadily on two key tasks:

  1. 1:30-scale tank testing at the Oregon State University test tanks to help refine the device design.  These tests were conducted in October 2011 and enabled some controlled testing of the WET-NZ wave energy device in a range of sea-states.
  2. Building in Oregon a ½-scale device, equivalent in size to the MEDF device, which has been deployed here in New Zealand.  In the end the hull of the device was built in Oregon, whilst the Power Pod was built in NZ and shipped to Oregon.

The tank testing facilitated some significant changes to the design, notably the float shape (compare the NZ device on the left with the US device on the right).

The device components were assembled in Newport, Oregon in early August and were deployed at the Northwest National Marine Renewable Energy Centre’s test site, just north of Newport, on 22 August.

Unlike the NZ device, the Oregon device is connected to a specially constructed vessel, called the Ocean Sentinel, which is Oregon State University’s load/telemetry/communications vessel.  Consequently accurate measurements of device performance under load can be collected for future analysis.

The US device will remain at the NNMREC test site until at least the beginning of October but will be removed for the winter after that.  It may either be deployed back at this site in (northern) Spring 2013 or at another site.

Meanwhile the NZ device is presently at Seaview Marina (Lower Hutt), awaiting the outcome of some modelling work to refine the mooring design.  The NZ device should be in the water early in 2013.