Up and coming Western Australian wave energy company, Bombora Wave Power, has launched the trial of its unique Wave Energy Converter technology, with the deployment of a a mid-scale prototype in Melville Waters, part of Perth’s Swan River.
The trial is considered to be a major milestone for the company, whose low-cost technology uses a unique ramp-like feature, comprising a concrete base with a sloping membrane wall, to capture both the heave and surge motions of a wave to extract more of its energy.
Each WEC unit is rated at 1.5MW, giving it the potential to supply renewable electricity for 500 homes or deliver 1GL of desalinated water each year.
The mid-scale field trial marks the company’s first foray out of the laboratory, to prove the function of the system in a real world setting. It will also allow Bombora to test a number of system configurations before launching into commercial-scale trials.
“Testing this mid-scale wave energy collector in salt water is a significant step forward for the company,” said Bombora CEO Sam Leighton, adding that the company was now in the advanced planning stage for a full-scale commercial scale trial at one of a number of prospective testing sites.
In June, the company announced the beginnings of a deal that could see its Wave Energy Collectors (WEC) manufactured and distributed in Indonesia, to help meet the archipelago’s complex power network challenges.
Bombora – which we featured in an indepth cleantech series in July – says its wave energy technology was developed through a collaborative effort with the Australian Maritime College, four West Australian Universities and the Pawsey Supercomputing Centre.
It was also supported by the Western Australian government’s Business Incubator program.
“It’s fantastic to see local innovative companies, academics and research facilities collaborating, enabling them to play effectively on the world’s stage,” said WA’s chief scientist, Professor Peter Klinken.
“The competition is global, so a collaborative ‘Team WA’ approach has helped make the company much more competitive.”