Feeds

Wave power prototype sinks after seven weeks

AquaBuOY 2.0 'highly successful', says developer

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

A prototype wave power installation has sunk off the Oregon coast. The company which designed the equipment described the project as "highly successful".

The AquaBuOY before it sank

The prototype before it successfully sank.

The patented $2m "AquaBuOY 2.0", a massive 72-foot-tall floating vertical cylinder built by Oregon Iron works, was moored two and a half miles off Newport early in September. It was not intended to generate useful electricity, but rather as a test bed for future versions. The AquaBuOY's onboard instrumentation and communications were actually powered by solar panels and windmills. It sank on 27 October, just over seven weeks after being deployed.

According to Finavera, the renewable-energy company developing the AquaBuOY technology:

Any offshore system must survive the harsh ocean environment... AquaBuOYs are being designed for 100 year storms... Our maintenance and replacement cycles are being designed to extend the life of the system to beyond 20 years.

However, Finavera's Mike Clark told local reporter Miriam Widman that the test platform had only been engineered to survive for three months; and that the company had planned to remove it the very day after it mysteriously went down. Clark seemed to feel that the situation might be misunderstood.

"So when people say - Oh there's this device and it sank. How do you expect it to last 20 years or even five years in a real commercial development? It wasn't designed for that," he fumed.

"Granted, it wasn't designed for two months either... The actual data we got was positive and validated all the modelling."

The AquaBuOY uses a reinforced rubber hose "whose internal volume is reduced when the hose is stretched, thereby acting as a pump". The seawater thus squirted out is used to drive a turbine and so generate power, which is carried ashore by an ordinary submarine cable.

Finavera thinks the flotation section of the AquBuOy flooded and its bilge pump was unable to cope. There is a hint in the company materials as to how equipment based on "components that have been proven in other marine industries for decades" could fail like this.

AquaBuOYs are designed to maximise power output during more typical, moderate wave conditions on an annual basis... This avoids costly over-design that only captures extreme spikes in storm-based wave intensities.

As a general principle, if it isn't designed for storms, it won't survive for long in the briny. Over-engineering on land equals normal engineering at sea.

However, Clark told Widman: "We're pretty sure it didn't have anything to do with the power-generating technology." So there.

He also said he didn't suspect "foul play". Such foul play would in this case have been from local fishermen rather than French frogmen with limpet-mines or whatnot. Clark is probably right to suggest that the fishermen didn't meddle with his machine, as it seems that the sunken wreck is going to present them with severe problems. ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
Vulture 2 takes a battering in 100km/h test run
Still in one piece, but we're going to need MORE POWER
Boffins ID freakish spine-smothered prehistoric critter: The CLAW gave it away
Bizarre-looking creature actually related to velvet worms
TRIANGULAR orbits will help Rosetta to get up close with Comet 67P
Probe will be just 10km from Space Duck in October
CRR-CRRRK, beep, beep: Mars space truck backs out of slippery sand trap
Curiosity finds new drilling target after course correction
ANU boffins demo 'tractor beam' in water
The current state of the art, apparently
China to test recoverable moon orbiter
I'll have some rocks and a moon cheese pizza please, home delivery
What does a flashmob of 1,024 robots look like? Just like this
Sorry, Harvard, did you say kilobots or KILLER BOTS?
NASA's rock'n'roll shock: ROLLING STONE FOUND ON MARS
No sign of Ziggy Stardust and his band
Why your mum was WRONG about whiffy tattooed people
They're a future source of RENEWABLE ENERGY
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Solving today's distributed Big Data backup challenges
Enable IT efficiency and allow a firm to access and reuse corporate information for competitive advantage, ultimately changing business outcomes.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.