Thursday, 30 August 2012

Wave energy facility operational
22 Aug 2012

(US) NEWPORT — One of the first public wave energy testing systems in the United States began operation this week off the Oregon coast near Newport. It will allow private industry and academic researchers to test new technology. The Ocean Sentinel is a $1.5 million device developed by the Northwest National Marine Renewable Energy Center, or NNMREC, at Oregon State University.

OSU described it as "a major step forward for the future of wave energy" and said it should do its first testing within days — a "WetNZ" device developed by private industry.

The mobile wave energy test device will be used by many companies and academic researchers in the quest to develop wave energy technology, measure and understand the wave resource, and study the energy output and other important issues, OSU said.

"The Ocean Sentinel will provide a standardized, accurate system to compare various wave energy technologies, including systems that may be better for one type of wave situation or another," said Sean Moran, ocean test facilities manager with NNMREC.

"We have to find out more about which technologies work best, in what conditions, and what environmental impacts there may be," Moran said. "We're not assuming anything. We're first trying to answer the question, 'Is this a good idea or not?' And if some technology doesn't work as well, we want to find that out quickly, and cheaply, and the Ocean Sentinel will help us do that."

Experts say that, unlike some alternative energy forms such as wind power, it's probable that no one technology will dominate the wave energy field.

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