OE Buoy gearing up to conquer alternate marine energy markets

Illustration/Earlier iteration of the OE Buoy (Photo: Ocean Energy)

Irish company Ocean Energy is making progress on the construction of its OE Buoy wave energy device that will, in addition to utility electricity supply, also be offered for use in the alternative marine energy markets.

The 38-meter long OE Buoy, with a potential rated capacity of up to 1.25MW in electrical power production, is taking shape in an Oregon shipyard, where shipbuilder Vigor is doing the construction works.

Once completed in spring 2019, the OE Buoy will be towed to the US Navy Wave Energy Test Site on the coast of O’ahu, in Hawaii, for testing purposes.

According to Ocean Energy, the OE Buoy will be suitable for use for range of non-traditional applications for wave energy devices, like providing power and cooling to marine-based data centers.

Also, the OE Buoy could find its purpose powering offshore fish farms, desalination plants, naval Underwater Autonomous Vehicle (AUV) power platforms, as well as supplying clean electricity for off-grid communities in remote islands.

John McCarthy, Chief Executive Officer of Ocean Energy, said: “In the energy-hungry and rapidly expanding IoT world, technology companies will be able to benefit from wave power through the development of OE Buoy devices as marine-based data storage and processing centers.

“The major players in Big Data are already experimenting with subsea data centers to take advantage of the energy savings by cooling these systems in the sea. OE Buoy now presents them with the potential double-benefit of ocean cooling and ocean energy in the one device.”

Each deployed commercial-scale OE Buoy device could reduce CO2 emissions by over 3,600 tons annually, which for a utility-scale wave farm of 100MW could amount to over 180,000 tons of CO2 in a full year, Ocean Energy said.

Emerging industries such as offshore aquaculture could also benefit from wave energy as they require power at remote marine locations. Additionally, with safe drinking water shortages plaguing cities around the world, wave energy could potentially provide a highly cost-effective solution to desalination, Ocean Energy noted.

The private sector project is supported by the Unites States and Irish governments and their agencies as part of an agreement committing both governments to collaborating on marine hydrokinetic technologies.

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