Since Callaghan Innovation initiated development in 2006, the Azura (formerly WET-NZ) technology has advanced from initial concept (TRL 1) and micro-scale modeling stage (TRL 3) to open ocean testing of large scale prototypes (TRL 5/6). Under the R&D program implemented in New Zealand, three prototypes were deployed for open-ocean testing, including a TRL 5/6 prototype deployed near Christchurch, NZ.
In 2010, NWEI was awarded a $1.8 million grant from the US Department of Energy (“DOE”). The purpose of this program was to complete all of the elements of a TRL 5/6 program as defined by DOE. NWEI first conducted wave tank testing at the Northwest National Marine Renewable Energy Center’s (“NNMREC”) Tsunami Wave Basin in 2011 to further characterize the device and optimize the float design. Based on the wave tank data, NWEI developed a second generation design (“Oregon prototype”) with a modified float and power conversion system.
The Oregon prototype was fabricated, deployed and tested in 2012 in the open ocean at the NNMREC wave energy test site off the coast of Newport, OR. This marked the first successful deployment of a TRL 5/6 wave energy device in Oregon and first device to be connected to NNMREC’s instrumentation buoy, the Ocean Sentinel. More than 30 million pieces of data were collected which are being analyzed and will form the basis of the TRL 7/8 or commercial scale design. Learn more about the Oregon Pilot project.
In September 2012, NWEI was selected by the DOE and the US Navy via a competitive process to modify and redeploy the prototype at the Navy’s Wave Energy Test Site (“WETS”) located at the Marine Corps Base Hawai’i (“MCBH”). The Navy had been evaluating Ocean Power Technologies’ (“OPT”) PowerBuoy technology at the WETS site since 2003. However, the OPT device has been removed and the Navy is now working with NWEI to evaluate Azura as a cost-effective and secure means to supply power to their bases. Learn more about the Hawaii Demonstration Project.