Gallery: NREL starts StingRAY testing

The National Wind Technology Center (NWTC) has begun validation work on Columbia Power’s StingRAY wave energy device.

The testing is currently underway at the US Energy Department’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s NWTC facility in Colorado, and over the next few months, the unit will be connected to the NWTC’s Controllable Grid Interface for electrical performance characterization.

Columbia Power Technologies is validating its power take-off system at the NWTC as part of its product validation and risk mitigation efforts.

The testing at NWTC is being undertaken ahead of open-water demonstration of the StingRAY wave power system scheduled for 2017 at the US Navy’s Wave Energy Test Site in Hawaii.

Mark McDade, Project Manager at NWTC, said: “Physically, the generator has a diameter that’s as tall as a two-story building. We’re confirming mechanical integrity, water tightness of ocean seals, and electrical compatibility with the grid. It will be in our facility for several months.”


(Photos by Mark McDade, NREL)

The large-diameter, direct-drive, permanent-magnet generator, which is the focus of this validation, was built with Columbia Power’s novel air-gap control system design, according to National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).

“We are testing the StingRAY at the NWTC because the core design is similar to a wind turbine-it is direct drive, but with a very large diameter. The dynamometer can mimic the sea, with back-and-forth oscillation, and will put the generator through its paces to ensure it can withstand ocean forces,” said Reenst Lesemann, CEO of Oregon-based wave energy company, Columbia Power Technologies.

The project is co-sponsored by Columbia Power and the US Department of Energy.

NREL is the US Department of Energy’s primary national laboratory for renewable energy and energy efficiency research and development.

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