Ocean Power Technologies (OPT) has been awarded $1.5m (£1m) of funding from the US Department of Energy (DoE) for the development of its next-generation PowerBuoy wave power system.

The group, which has offices in Warwick and New Jersey in the US, will use the investment to help fund the scale-up of the power output per PowerBuoy from the current level of 150kW to 500kW.

Further technology development will focus on increasing the power extraction efficiency as well as building a ‘Design-for-Manufacture’ approach, which aims to achieve lower installed capital and energy costs that are expected to be competitive with energy based on fossil fuels.

Charles Dunleavy, chief executive officer of the company, said: ‘OPT’s programme of work under this award is in accord with the Department of Energy’s objectives to increase the use of domestic marine resources for electric power generation and to enhance energy security, while improving the environment. 

‘OPT and its partners share these goals and are committed to dealing constructively with the challenges of climate change. We appreciate the DoE’s confidence in our technical capabilities to commercialise wave power further.’

This is the second grant to OPT by the DoE. In 2008, OPT received $2m to provide funding for the construction of a PB150 PowerBuoy to be deployed in connection with the company’s project at Reedsport, Oregon.

The DoE is seeking to advance the commercial viability, market acceptance and environmental performance of marine and hydrokinetic technologies. Work under the award will be performed on an equal cost-sharing basis over a two-year period, subject to full expenditure authorisation and funding by the DoE.