Ocean Power Technologies (OPT) has been awarded a $2.4m (£1.5m) contract by the US Navy to provide PowerBuoy wave-energy conversion technology to the navy’s Littoral Expeditionary Autonomous PowerBuoy (LEAP) programme.
The contract, to be performed over one year, is the first under a proposed four-year $15m project concerning LEAP, which has been established to enhance the navy’s anti-terrorism and force-protection capability. It hopes to do this by providing persistent power at sea for port maritime surveillance in the near coast, harbours, piers and offshore areas.
Under the initial contract, AIM-listed OPT will provide its PowerBuoy wave-energy conversion technology for testing with sensor-based and communications systems, with the ultimate aim under the four-year programme of developing a LEAP-based vessel detection system testbed.
The announcement is OPT’s first contract with the US Navy under the LEAP programme, and builds on its existing relationship that dates back to June 2007 when OPT was awarded a $1.7m contract to provide autonomous PowerBuoy technology for the navy’s Deep Water Active Detection System (DWADS) for ocean data gathering.
In operation, OPT’s PowerBuoy wave-generation system uses an ocean-going buoy to capture and convert wave energy into electricity.
The rising and falling of the waves off shore causes the buoy to move up and down. The resultant mechanical stroking is converted to drive an electrical generator. The generated power is transmitted ashore via an underwater power cable.