PowerBuoy wave energy device trials exceed expectations

US renewable-energy company Ocean Power Technologies (OPT) said today it believed capacity on one of its wave energy devices being tested off Scotland was better than most other renewable energy sources.

The firm has been testing its PowerBuoy PB150 at the European Marine Energy Centre on Orkney since last month.

It said it believed its capacity factor – the percentage of its generation against its theoretical maximum output – had exceeded those experienced by most other renewable energy sources.

It also said power levels and system performance had outperformed engineering expectations.

Charles Dunleavy, chief executive, said the results were a major milestone in the commercialisation of the technology.

“These achievements point to growing potential for OPT’s technology across a multitude of commercial opportunities for large, grid-connected power stations and for autonomous applications such as maritime security, offshore oil and gas platforms, aquaculture and desalination,” he said.

The results of the tests were announced as the firm gave its first quarter results. It posted revenues of £1.18million in the three months to the end of July, compared to £870,000 in the same period last year.

It had a contract backlog of £4.4million and posted operating losses of £3.2million compared to £3.9million for the three months to the end of July 2010.

It said product development costs had decreased, mainly for the PB150 system off the coast of Scotland.

The PB150 is a smaller machine than its standard PowerBuoys, one of which is being tested about 38 miles offshore of Invergordon.

OPT also has sea trials of its autonomous Leap PowerBuoy – designed and made under a US navy coastal security and maritime surveillance programme – taking place off New Jersey in America.