OPT receives $4.8m from US Department of Energy

Ocean Power Technologies (OPT) has won two new funding awards worth $4.8m (£3.1m) from the US Department of Energy (DoE).

OPT plans to use the first award, for $2.4m, in connection with the construction and deployment of one of its PB150 PowerBuoys at Reedsport, Oregon, as part of the first proposed commercial wave power project in the US.

Deployment of the 150kW peak-rated PB150, which is currently under construction, is expected to occur in 2011. This is the second award to OPT by the DoE in connection with the Reedsport project. In 2008, OPT received $2m to use towards the construction of the PB150 PowerBuoy.

In August 2010, the Oregon project received a major boost when the company signed an agreement with 14 stakeholders to support the phased development of a 10-PowerBuoy wave power station at the Reedsport site with a peak generating capacity of 1.5MW.

The second award, also for $2.4m, is intended to be used for the design and development of OPT’s next-generation 500kW PowerBuoy wave power system, the PB500. Development work will focus on increasing the PB500’s power extraction efficiency, implementing a design-for-manufacture approach and reduce maintenance costs. The award follows an initial $1.5m award announced in April 2010, taking the total DoE funding in connection with the PB500 to $3.9m.

Issued to OPT under a competitive process, the awards were announced by the US energy secretary, Steven Chu, to accelerate the technological and commercial readiness of emerging marine and hydrokinetic technologies that seek to generate renewable electricity from oceans, free-flowing rivers and streams.