Jul 26 2015

Azura Technology Captures the Motion of the Ocean

Northwest Energy Innovations (NWEI) designed a 20kW wave energy converter, the Azura, which began producing electricity to the grid last month off the coast of Oahu, Hawaii. (Gahran)

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The Azura’s innovative design captures energy from the waves vertical and horizontal motions with its 360 degree rotating buoy. (843 Digital) “As the first grid connected wave energy device in the U.S. that will be tested and validated by an independent party, this deployment marks a major milestone for our team and the marine renewable energy industry,” said NWEI Founder and CEO Steve Kopf. (NWEI) Solar and wind power have been the most successful renewable energy sources thus far. There are several reasons wave energy is last in line including lack of open-ocean research, fluctuating wave conditions, environmental concerns, and most importantly investment cost. Azura technology allows the device to partially submerge under waves and rotate in every direction making it less susceptible to damage in rough conditions. The device has already been tested and approved on small-scale, producing 20kW of electricity and is now being tested and improved with intentions of producing 1MW energy. (Gahran)

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The initial cost of wave energy systems is very high and reliant on investors. “According to the Ocean Energy Council, recent experience in the U.K. (which is more advanced in wave power testing and deployment) is about 7.5 cents per kWh at best. The industry goal is to get this down to about 4.5 cents per kwh – comparable with the cost of wind power, although still much higher than the cost of fossil-fuel generation.” (Gahran) According to U.S. Energy Information Administration, Hawaii has the highest cost of electricity production at 34 cents per kWh. Continued technology advancements in the Azura wave energy system could drive down this expense as well as provide a streamline design for future wave energy conversion installments off the U.S. coasts.

Sources:
Gahran, Amy, “Wave Energy Test Rolling Forward Hawaii,” EnergyBiz, July 26, 2015. Web. 26 July 2015. http://www.energybiz.com/article/15/07/wave-energy-test-rolling-forward-hawaii

NWEI, “Norwest Energy innovations Launches Wave Energy Device in Hawaii,” AzuraWave. Web. July 26, 2015. http://azurawave.com/northwest-energy-innovations-launches-wave-energy-device-in-hawaii/

843 Digital. “NWEI Animation,” Youtube. October 21, 2013. Web. July 26, 2015 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qQ7mWC5IFgk

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