Renewables in Oregon: OPT Receives FERC Approval, Wave Energy Testing
developments in marine renewable energy have made a string of industry
Ocean Power Technologies (OPT) Wave Park LLC (Reedsport, Oregon)
received the first approval from the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory
Commission (FERC) for a wave power station in the U.S., while the
Northwest National Marine Renewable Energy Center (NNMREC) at Oregon
State University launched one of the nation's first public wave energy
testing systems, the Ocean Sentinel.
OPT's 35-year FERC license covers the full build-out of the company's
planned 1.5-megawatt, grid-connected wave power station off Reedsport,
which is now approved to deploy up to 10 OPT devices generating
electricity for approximately 1,000 homes.
Construction of the initial PowerBuoy is nearing completion, and it is
expected to be ready for deployment about 2.5 miles off the Reedsport
coast later this year. After the initial PowerBuoy is deployed, OPT
plans to construct the balance of the wave power station, consisting of
up to nine additional PowerBuoys and grid-connection infrastructure,
subject to receipt of additional funding and all necessary regulatory
OPT has received funding for this first system from the U.S. Department
of Energy, with the support of the Oregon congressional delegation, and
from PNGC Power (Portland, Oregon).
The Ocean Sentinel, a $1.5 million device developed by the NNMREC,
began operation this week off the coast of Newport, Oregon. The device
should undergo its first testing within days with a wave energy
converter developed under the Wave Energy Technology – New Zealand
(WET-NZ) program by Industrial Research Ltd. (Lower Hutt, New Zealand)
and Power Projects Ltd. (Wellington, New Zealand).
The creation of this mobile wave energy test facility will be used by
many companies and academic researchers to develop wave energy
technology, measure and understand the wave resource, and study the
energy output and other important issues.
"We have to find out more about which technologies work best, in what
conditions, and what environmental impacts there may be," Moran said.
"We're not assuming anything. We're first trying to answer the
question, 'Is this a good idea or not?' And if some technology doesn't
work as well, we want to find that out quickly and cheaply, and the
Ocean Sentinel will help us do that."
The 1-square-mile site where the Ocean Sentinel will operate, about 2
miles northwest of Yaquina Head, has been studied for its physical and
biological characteristics. Part of the NNMREC program includes
studying potential environmental impacts, whether they might come from
electromagnetic fields, changes in acoustics or other factors. Changes
in sediments, invertebrates or fish will be monitored.
Three public hearings are being planned in August to discuss the
possibility of siting an $8 million grid-connected test facility, the
Pacific Marine Energy Center, in one of four possible locations
offshore Oregon: Newport, Reedsport, Coos Bay or Camp Rilea near
Caption: The Ocean Sentinel has been deployed
off the Oregon Coast, one of the nation's first wave energy testing
devices. (Photo by Pat Kight, Oregon Sea Grant)
Source: OPT and Oregon State University press releases
Navy Presents Design
Of Type-26 Global Combat Ship
The U.K. Ministry
of Defence unveiled on Monday the design of the Royal Navy's
next-generation warship. The multimission warship, which is due to come
into service after 2020, will be used by the Royal Navy in combat and
counter-piracy operations, and to support humanitarian and disaster
Since 2010, the ministry has been working with BAE Systems
(Farnborough, England) to determine the ship's basic capabilities and
baseline design. Now that it has been endorsed, the program can
to the next part of the assessment phase, which will examine the
detailed specifications of the vessel.
With a basic displacement of around 5,400 tonnes, the Type-26 global
combat ship will be around 148 meters in length. It is expected to
feature: vertical missile silos capable of housing a range of different
weapons; a medium-caliber gun; a hangar to accommodate a Merlin or
Wildcat Helicopter and a flexible mission space for unmanned air,
surface and underwater vehicles, or additional boats; and sensors. The
Type-26 will help sustain industrial surface warship capabilities in
the U.K. after the construction of the Queen Elizabeth-class
"The Type 26 Global Combat Ship will be the backbone of the Royal Navy
for decades to come. It is designed to be adaptable and easily
upgraded, reacting to threats as they change," said Peter Luff,
minister for defense equipment of support and technology.
Caption: The basic specification of the Type-26
global combat ship.
Source: BAE Systems press release
Robot Takes Samples, Records Video
From Bottom of the Puerto Rico
underwater vehicle deployed by Promare Inc. (Chester, Connecticut) has
retrieved three hours of video recordings and samples of marine life from
depths of 26,000 feet in the Puerto Rico Trench. Running 500 miles long
and 50 to 125 miles north of Puerto Rico, the trench is the deepest
part of the Atlantic Ocean.
While other expeditions have dropped vehicles with sensors down to the
trench to record, this marks the first time video and marine life
samples have been retrieved from such depths in the Atlantic Ocean,
said Gregory Cook, chairman of the board at Promare. The project was
carried out at a fraction of the cost of manned expeditions, with
Promare spending less than $200,000, he added.
The vehicle, developed over the past two-and-a-half years, consisted of
a standard full-ocean depth-rated sphere that Promare equipped with
video and batteries, and a couple of spheres with lights on them.
Originally, the vehicle was going to be designed as an ROV with a
fiber-optic tether, but Promare decided to forgo this idea after
testing a tether that failed to perform at the desired depths and
finding that a replacement would take several more months. The company
dropped the vehicle to the trench bottom, with bait bags tied to it to
attract marine life.
Biologists will now study the video and examine the retried samples of
what appear to be some form of shrimp, Promare said. The video also
shows fish and other life-forms on the seabed.
Biologists will now study the video and examine the retrieved samples,
which appear to be shrimp-like anthropods. Anthropods like these have
been found in other places in the Pacific, but these samples are the
deepest discovered yet in the Atlantic Ocean, Promare said.
A clip of the video recorded at the bottom of the trench can be viewed here.
Caption: The robot that Promare deployed to the
the Puerto Rico Trench.
Dr. Barbara Block, Blue Serengeti Initiative
Block, marine sciences professor at the University of Stanford, is the
leader of the recently launched Blue Serengeti Initiative, a project
to track great white sharks off the coast of California and in the
region of the California Current.
Block and her team aim to create a "wired ocean," where live feeds of
predator movements are relayed by a series of ocean Wi-Fi hotspots on
moored buoys and self-propelled Liquid Robotics Inc. (Sunnyvale,
California) Wave Gliders carrying acoustic receivers. The buoys will
pick up signals from acoustic tags on animals passing within 1,000 feet
and transmit the data to a research team on shore. The initiative
builds on the Tagging of Pacific Predators (TOPP) project that Block
also participated in.
As part of this project, Block's team also developed a free iOS app
called Shark Net that can track the sharks' progress along the
Sea Technology recently asked Block about her
What was the motivation for this project?
We want to push the boundaries of ocean observation for animals.
Through our prior work in the Tagging of Pacific Pelagics (TOPP), we
used a large number of animal tag deployments (4,000+) to discover how
23 species of marine animals (tunas, sharks, seals, cetaceans, seabirds
and sea turtles) used the North Pacific. We discovered that the
California Current was a hot spot seasonally—a place where many of
these animals gathered and congregated.
We had for TOPP used satellite and archival tags, with large-scale
deployment expenses of ships and personnel. What we are transitioning
too is long-term monitoring objectives that will provide ocean
observation of ecosystems. The new project is testing the Wave Glider
and buoys fitted with a Vemco (Halifax, Canada) VR2c and VR4 global
monitor system for detecting 69-kilohertz-coded acoustic tags. The
advantage is live feeds of data to mobile devices, making it very
What technical challenges did you and your team overcome in
planning and deploying this network? When did you start planning this
and when did this network become operational?
We have been working with the buoy VR4 Global for about three years. At
about the same time, my colleagues in Australia and I worked with Vemco
to get a package in the water that would create an instantaneous feed
from an acoustic tag to a global satellite system. For me, the early
units were large and difficult to mount in the ocean environ of a rough
west coast. My colleagues in Australia succeeded in making spectacular
buoys but at relatively high cost.
We focused on a smaller 25-pound unit that has a low footprint that can
be put near the surface of the ocean. The collar buoy was built with my
colleague Francisco Chavez's team at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research
Institute, and together we moored the first buoy at a shark hot
spot in August. Two more are going in shortly, and a fourth is planned.
The Iridium-enabled buoys are test sites for "listening to animals"
that swim by. The most important aspect of the work is you need to have
a hot spot—you need to know you're at the watering hole where the
animals congregate, and the 10 years of tagging prior to this are
essential for having learn where the sharks and other animals are
Why was the Wave Glider chosen for this project?
The Wave Glider is a remarkable technology. It's quiet,
environmentally friendly and moves along at a speed that is similar to
animals. The mission we're doing is acoustically listening for a
69-kilohertz coded tag. The glider being down at 7 meters was perfect
for deployment of the sensors. The glider occupies the surface realm
and this is where many of these animals hang out.
We're testing the capacity to survey close to shore and hopefully
later in the year out at sea. The fact that the Wave Glider can do a
long-endurance mission and have a sophisticated interface where we as
researchers can work seamlessly with Liquid Robotics pilots makes it
even more exciting as venture. I believe Wave Gliders will be one
essential element of the Integrated Ocean Observing System in part
because a single glider can do so many diverse things: sample for
tagged animals, in-situ oceanography, potentially molecular DNA work
and acoustic (prey) fields all simultaneously, powered by waves and
How many acoustic buoys were deployed in this project?
We have receivers currently in one buoy, and we're making four more now. We have five underwater receivers in the network.
Why did your team decide to create the app? What kind of feedback have you received so far?
The app that is providing outreach called Shark Net is hugely
popular. One goal of the project was to do outreach to help connect
humans to this rich ecosystem teeming with life off the most populous
shores in the nation.
I love the interactive media—the tools for tracking, mapping and
science all at your fingertips. We have to encourage the public to
engage in ocean science and ocean observation, and the sharks are
ambassadors for the technology and the sea. Ultimately, it's the
interaction with the app that may help conserve the habitats and the
sharks, as we're connecting the public to this blue serengeti.
What have the initial results been? What are your plans for
the next year or so, and what other technologies do you plan to
incorporate in the future?
We've had more than 200 detections of sharks. Nineteen individuals were
detected in our first test. This is our second test with the Wave
Glider, it's been in less than a week, and we have three sharks, king
salmon and a rainbow trout detected.
We plan to continue building the capacity of the Wave Glider to
help us have a living laboratory capable of integrating the presence of
animals with the environment. I think the future of our nation's
capacity in ocean observing will be tied tightly to these new tools and
technologies that provide rapid real-time updates and continuous
monitoring. For fish this will lead to better spatial management and
models, census information and climate change responses.
Caption: Dr. Barbara Block of Stanford University
(right) and Keith Kreider, vice president of Wave Glider operations at
Liquid Robotics Inc., examine the Wave Glider Carey. (Photo courtesy of Stanford
MariPro Installs RSN Cabled Observatory
MariPro (Goleta, California) has completed installation of the in-water
primary infrastructure for the Regional Scale Nodes (RSN), the cabled
observatory component of the National Science Foundation's Ocean
The University of Washington has led the RSN's construction and
early operations. The installation consisted of more than 850
kilometers of submarine cable, of which more than 280 kilometers were
buried to 1,500 meters depth, including seven nodes installed in depths
from 113 to 2,900 meters. The nodes will provide power and data
connectivity to ocean instruments.
Caption: Primary Node 5A is shown on the deck of
the TE SubCom (Morristown, New Jersey) Dependable,
with the spare science interface assembly (SIA) installed in the node
for testing. Node 5A will have no SIA since it is a placeholder node
potential future expansion.
Source: L-3 MariPro
Oil Spill System Acquired
By Elastec/American Marine
Marine (Carmi, Illinois) has acquired the BoomVane technology,
developed and patented by ORC AB (Frolunda, Sweden). The BoomVane is an
aquatic paravane system that enables oil recovery and debris
containment booms to be towed by a single vessel, as well as to deploy
booms in rivers and tidal waters without boats or anchors.
Transferring manufacturing and marketing to Elastec/American Marine,
ORC will continue with the development of new oil spill recovery
techniques, now focusing on a paravane-based system for a single vessel
with wide swath dispersant application. An offshore prototype was
successfully deployed during the oil-on-water exercise conducted by the
Norwegian Clean Seas Association for Operating Companies in Norway last
Caption: The Ocean BoomVane tows rubber
in open water to collect oil for recovery.
Source: Elastec/American Marine press release
Sanko Tsusho Named
As Agents for Exocetus Coastal Gliders
Development LLC (Anchorage, Alaska) has chosen Alakaluf Ltd. (Punta
Arenas, Chile) as its exclusive agent in Chile and Sanko Tsusho Co.
Ltd. (Tokyo, Japan) as its agent in Japan, effective immediately for
the sales and marketing of the Exocetus Coastal Gilder.
The Exocetus is designed for environmental monitoring in coastal
Caption: An Exocetus glider being deployed from
a research vessel.
Source: Exocetus Development LLC press releases