Australian wave energy company Oceanlinx on Friday formally launched what it claims to be the first 1MW wave-energy-to-electricity unit in Port MacDonnell, South Australia.
The machine – the first commercial scale unit launched by the company – will go through a 12-month testing period and consider scaling the unit up to 10MW in size. It has struck a power purchase agreement with renewable energy retailer Diamond Energy to generate revenue for the project.
Oceanlinx’s “greenwave” technology works by using waves to produce high pressure air, which in turn is converted into electricity by a turbine. The company says it is made of simple flat packed prefabricated reinforced concrete. It sits under its own weight on the seafloor without the need for seabed preparation, in approximately 10-15m of water.
The $8 million project received $4.4 million in funding from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency under the Emerging Renewables Program.
“Our investment aims to demonstrate the technology and share lessons learnt to catalyse future projects,” CEO Ivor Frischknecht said in a statement.
Frischknecht said there is great potential for wave energy technology in Australia, given that it has among the best wave energy resources in the world. Carnegie Wave Energy is currently installing the world’s first multi-unit facility off Garden Island near Perth.