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BioPower to trial wave energy in Oz

Victorian gummint helping fund 250kW test

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Port Fairy in Victoria is to be home to a $AU14m trial of wave power, with the Victorian government announcing support of $AU5m for the project.

The conditional funding from the state government is provided under its Sustainable Energy Pilot Demonstration Program, to help build a 250kW system that will connect to the grid at Port Fairy.

The company proposing the project, BioPower Systems (BPS), says it has tested the most critical component of its generator at full scale, at its factory in the Sydney suburb of Mascot.

Image of BioWave power system

Source: BioPower Systems

The Victorian pilot would see the BPS system operating 30 meters under the ocean surface. BPS’s CEO, Dr Timothy Finnigan, says the company needs to raise another $AU3.6m to go ahead with the project.

Finnigan says the key characteristics of the system are that power is generated in-situ, connecting back to the grid via a submarine power cable, which gives BPS flexibility in choice of location; the system has a fail-safe mode positioning it flat against the seabed in violent conditions; and its blade structure is designed to capture a higher proportion of the available energy than other designs.

Rather than using turbines to capture wave power, BioWave’s buoyant blades sway back and forth with water flows; this is captured as hydraulic pressure in BioWave’s drive system, which converts the hydraulic energy into electricity. ®

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