US-based ocean energy solutions provider and developer of PowerBuoy wave device, OPT, has been awarded a contract from the United States Navy valued at $125,000, and an additional three options totaling $100,000.
Under this contract, OPT will immediately begin the development of a buoy mooring system which incorporates fiber optics for the transmission of subsea sensor data to airplanes, ships, and satellites.
OPT will execute the work under its Innovation & Support Services line and aims to leverage its experience with marine systems and U.S. Navy programs to address the Navy’s need for reliable and low-cost “optical-mechanical mooring cables”.
Importantly, the fiber optic mooring concepts developed under this contract may be incorporated into OPT’s PowerBuoy and Subsea Battery Module product lines, the company said.
George Kirby, CEO of Ocean Power Technologies, said: “We’re very excited for this Phase I award by the U.S. Navy to develop a fiber optic mooring line which may be used for both defense and commercial applications. We believe that this new contract award further validates our technical expertise and experience with ocean energy systems and could also lead to additional future contract awards where we might utilize OPT technologies which are already in advanced stages of development. To date, OPT has earned 28 U.S. Government awards, including eight Phase I awards, which led to five Phase II efforts and 15 Phase III efforts, all related to marine systems and applications. We welcome the opportunity that this new contract brings, and this award now allows us to immediately bid on a Phase II contract.”
OPT has submitted several proposals to the U.S. Navy and the Office of Naval Research under its Innovation and Support Services line on topics such as powering acoustic and non-acoustic sensors and improving the persistence of unmanned underwater vehicles through battery recharging and critical data transfer. Additionally, OPT has successfully advanced its anchorless PowerBuoy design under a prior contract with the Office of Naval Research and is seeking to prototype the design for both defense and commercial applications.
“OPT has a long work history on Department of Defense projects,” continued Kirby. “Our most recent government effort has been around advancing our anchorless PowerBuoy design, and we’re nearing the prototype stage. The anchorless PowerBuoy design is very encouraging to our customers due to its innovative and patented approach to power generation and also the need for a quick-deploy solution throughout markets such as defense and offshore oil and gas.”
“In addition, these markets are undergoing a radical transformation to cleaner and more efficient all electric, all digital, and all autonomous subsea operations. Rapid deployment of persistent power and real-time subsea data communications is the enabling technology. Thanks to our efforts over the past few years, OPT is positioned and ready to enable this transformation today. In fact, we currently have one PowerBuoy deployed for a global oil and gas operator, another which is undergoing preparation for deployment, and we have two additional PowerBuoys in various stages of production. We’re speaking with numerous customers about single and multiple PowerBuoy leases and sales, as well as about studies for incorporating PowerBuoys into their operations. We’ve also begun the development of our initial Subsea Battery Solution, as well as a quick-deploy liquid fueled PowerBuoy for shorter duration deployments. We hope to have prototypes of these two products available for our launch customers by late summer of this year. It’s an incredibly exciting time at OPT, and we are laser focused on execution.”