BioPower Systems Teams With WorleyParsons to Deliver Design For Wave Energy Project
Wednesday, Sep 17, 2014

Ocean energy company, BioPower Systems (BPS), and global engineering services provider, WorleyParsons, have jointly announced that the two companies have completed the final engineering and design for a 250kW grid-connected wave energy project in Victoria, Australia.The project is being funded by the Australian Government, through the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), the Victorian Government, through the Energy Technology Innovation Strategy (ETIS), and by BioPower Systems.

The unique bioWAVE comprises a vertically-oriented frond-like structure that sways back-andforth beneath the ocean swell. It is fully automated, but on-board control systems can be accessed at any time through a fibre-optic communications line, which is bundled within the subsea power cable. The system self-regulates to provide smooth and consistent power directly to the grid. Importantly, during extreme wave conditions it will automatically assume a“safe” position lying flat against the seabed. This reduces the structural design requirements (and hence cost) while maintaining reliability.

“The project has been in development for some years now and we have secured all of the permits and approvals necessary to proceed with construction and installation,” said BioPower Systems CEO, Dr Timothy Finnigan. “All of the mechanical and electrical components have already been designed, built and tested. The design of the bioWAVE structure and its foundation demanded a high level of skill and ingenuity. We had to overcome some challenges, but the final design is now complete” said Dr Finnigan.

The bioWAVE will be fitted with a 250kW O-Drive module, which is a self-contained and detachable system capable of converting irregular hydraulic power into on-grid electricity. The O-Drive has been developed by BioPower Systems for wave, tidal and wind energy applications. Factory testing is complete and the O-Drive is ready to be deployed with the bioWAVE for ocean trials.

The engineering designs and installation methods for the project recently underwent an independent review by DNV GL, the worlds leading technical advisor and certification body for the offshore industry. The reviews confirmed the overall completeness and technical viability of the project to the satisfaction of all funding stakeholders.

“The bioWAVE is a promising ocean energy technology, with wide-ranging applicability for extracting clean energy from the coastal ocean, but it must be engineered with both cost and performance in mind. WorleyParsons has been able to draw expertise from its Advanced Analysis Group and its INTECSEA offshore engineering division to provide a complete design that meets the project requirements,” said Andrew Wood, CEO of WorleyParsons. The bioWAVE is currently scheduled for construction during 2014, with installation in the ocean to occur in 2015.

Further Background

The bioWAVE consists of a structure that sways back and forth beneath the waves, integrated with a self-contained module (O-Drive) that converts the resulting oscillating forces to electricity by pressurising hydraulic fluid, which is used to spin a generator to produce electricity for delivery to the grid via a subsea cable. The technology is designed to operate in depths of 25 to 40 metres. The critical O-Drive module has been fully tested at its commercial scale of 250kW (Note, a 1MW commercial-scale bioWAVE would utilise a set of four 250kW O-Drive modules, arranged in parallel). The O-Drive is designed to be detached and easily retrieved for onshore servicing. The energetic wave climate of the Southern Ocean is ideal for performance testing of the 250kW pilot-scale bioWAVE, which will be independently assessed and validated for potential commercial development.

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