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31-October 2013

Australia Set to Deploy the World's Largest Wave Energy Device

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has recently announced that it has launched the world's first one megawatt wave-energy-to-electricity unit, although the wave energy convertor is not yet in the water.

Whilst there exists many other wave energy generation devices in development, or even in use, around the world, especially in Scotland at the European Marine Energy Centre, the new unit developed by Oceanlinx, of which ARENA supplied $4.4 million of the $8 million cost of the project, is the largest ever at 1MW.

ARENA stated that with ARENA's support, Oceanlinx has designed and constructed a one megawatt wave energy device to convert the ocean's power into electricity and is now preparing to commission and test how well it can feed this into the national electricity grid for 12 months.

The greenWAVE, as the device has been called by Oceanlinx, is a little different to the Oyster designs being tested in Scotland. Weighing in at over 3,000 tonnes it just sits on the ocean floor without the need of anchoring or mooring lines to secure it in place. In about 15 metres of water the device is partly submerged. An opening below allows water to enter into the unit as a wave hits, this pushes a column of air up through a turbine, generating energy. As the wave moves on and the water recedes again, the air flow reverses, turning the turbine in the opposite direction and generating more power.

ARENA plans to install Oceanlinx's device just off the coast of Port MacDonnell in South Australia.

Following the testing period, there is potential for Oceanlinx to scale-up its device and increase the power generated up to ten megawatts, contributing more renewable energy into South Australia's electricity mix.

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