Australia’s Oceanlinx, whose home-grown, commercial-scale wave energy converter technology was unveiled with some fanfare last October, has been placed in receivership after the Sydney-based company hit troubled waters in February.
Rahul Goyal, one of two receivers appointed to the case from KordaMentha, said the company had “suffered financially” after an incident at sea several weeks ago delayed the final installation of its 1MW GreenWave wave energy converter – billed, at the time, as the world’s first such machine to be deployed.
The commercial-scale unit was damaged en route to its destination of Port MacDonnell, in the south-east of South Australia. This caused delays in funding, said Goyal, which was dependent on meeting installation deadlines.
Oceanlinx’s plan had been to install the 24m by 21m, 3,000 tonne unit 3km offshore and transfer the electricity it generated to the grid via a subsea cable. Once operational, the 1MW turbine was expected to produce enough electricity to power 1000 homes.
Instead, the commercial-scale unit, which sits on a base of prefabricated reinforced concrete, was towed into shallow waters at Carrickalinga, where it remains.
Formed more than 15 years ago, Oceanlinx was a promising player in Australia’s ocean energy sector, having a number of wave power prototypes, including three units off the NSW coast, and had plans to expand to North America, Asia and Europe.
The company’s award-winning “greenwave” technology – which works by using waves to produce high pressure air, which is converted into electricity by a turbine – was named in a 2012 CSIRO study as one of Australia’s most promising and advanced home-grown wave energy technologies.
The product of an $8 million project, it received $4.4 million in funding from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency under the Emerging Renewables Program.
In a media statement issued by KordaMentha Restructuring on Wednesday, Goyal said it was too early to outline the receivership strategy for Oceanlinx, but that the immediate priority was to work with state governments to alleviate any safety concerns. The company’s six employees would remain at work for now, he said.