Atmocean and The Potential of Wave Energy – Part 2

New Wave Media

December 13, 2014

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Atmocean’s wave energy system is unique in that each array of fifteen seawater pumps located up to 2 miles offshore produces pressurized water transmitted in a seafloor hose to the onshore turbine operating a generator. By using and underwater compressed air energy storage system a dramatic reductions in the net cost and availability of grid-scale energy storage is reached. Storing air at hydrostatic pressure, in equilibrium with the surrounding water allows the use of thin-walled storage vessels, and simpler, more reliable compressors. A simple, proprietary reversible air compressor runs at near-constant temperature and the heat of compression is stored in water and is restored during expansion of the air. The storage systemused by Atmocean was developed by Best LLC (Bright Energy Storage Technologies LLC). The great advantage of having a simple and less maintenance intensive system is a decrease in Opex. With all the electrical equipment onshore, this design is very low cost at under $1 million per megawatt of rated capacity. This makes the system economic even without government subsidies, which makes it even more attractive. 

The wave energy system has been awarded a permit to deploy its wave energy system just north of Ilo district, on the south coast of Peru, just north of the Chilean border in an area of intense wave action nearly all year long, exposed to southern ocean storms. The permit issued by the Peruvian Navy for the deployment site in Ilo will enable deployment by spring 2015 of Atmocean’s first commercial-scale wave energy system. In addition to producing clean, renewable electricity from ocean waves, the pumped seawater can be filtered to remove plastic debris, which is one of the major sources of pollution in the world’s oceans. Other end products of the Atmocean wave energy system include fresh water from desalination, and ice for commercial fishing.

Atmocean is also working with the Global Technology Deployment Initiative (GTDI) to develop a Strategic Plan to accelerate the deployment of its technology globally. GTDI seeks to identify breakthrough technologies which when brought to scale can make a major impact in dealing with global climate issues and growing basic resource shortages such as energy. Atmocean is the only wave energy technology GTDI has agreed to work with in the Strategic Planning Process. The work of GTDI is part of a comprehensive global effort to reduce barriers to accelerated technology deployment such as were addressed at the Global Solutions Summit.

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Paschoa, Claudio
Claudio Paschoa is Marine Technology Reporter's correspondent in Brazil.
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