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ABB Australia help Oceanlinx in wave energy conversion

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article image Wave energy conversion unit

ABB Australia  have announced that their performance service centre located in Port Kembla, NSW recently completed the refurbishment of Oceanlinx’s 250kW wave energy conversion unit. The wave energy conversion unit, which can save thousands of tonnes of CO2 and SO2 emissions annually, is a full scale prototype with a commercially efficient system for extracting energy from ocean waves and converting it to electricity, or utilising that energy to produce clean, fresh water from brine.

ABB Australia’s scope of work included fabrication modifications and installation of the wave energy conversion unit hood and steel work including stiffening sections of the structure and fabricating two watertight doors. All work was finished on schedule, enabling the unit to be floated out to its operational location off the breakwater north of Port Kembla harbour, NSW. Oceanlinx have a power purchase agreement with Australian utility Integral Energy for the supply of electricity from the 250kW prototype unit.

Oceanlinx’s core patented technology is an oscillating water column (OWC) device, based on the established science of wave energy, but one which, when compared to other OWC technologies offers major improvements in the design of the system, the turbine, and in construction technique. The technology has been constructed and tested with the first full scale Oceanlinx wave plant, installed at Port Kembla producing zero CO2 and SO2 pollution.

Ocean waves contain enormous amounts of energy. As this energy passes the Oceanlinx device, the water inside the OWC chamber which is open underneath the waterline rises and falls compressing and displacing the air inside, driving it past a turbine which is housed at the narrowest point in the chamber.

Since the OWC chamber narrows, the air is accelerated to its highest velocity as it passes the turbine, allowing for maximal extraction of the energy.

The oscillatory wave motion causes a similar oscillatory airflow through the chamber, and the turbine converts energy on both up and down stroke. The turbine converts the energy in the airflow into mechanical energy which drives an electrical generator. The chamber and turbine are the essence of the Oceanlinx Wave Energy System.

Oceanlinx are developing new generations of their wave energy conversion technology with peak power outputs in excess of 1MW, depending on the wave climate and specific power requirements. Multiple units can be deployed in the same general area, all connected back to shore by the one electrical cable, thus constituting a wave energy array to provide commercial sized installations of up to 100MW.

The expected global market for wave energy could see a saving of more than one billion tonnes of CO2 from the atmosphere each year on a like-for-like comparison with coal-generated power. ABB Australia’s Port Kembla facility looks forward to assist Oceanlinx as their business grows both nationally and internationally.

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