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Project Summary

Ocean Energy USA will leverage lessons learned from previous quarter-scale tests that have led to design improvements for a full-scale validation of its Ocean Energy Buoy at the Wave Energy Test Site (WETS). The Ocean Energy Buoy is an oscillating water column device that works by pumping air by the natural rise and fall of ocean waves through an air turbine system to generate electricity. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the U.S. Navy will collect baseline performance data, gain operational experience, and identify key cost drivers for oscillating water column devices. Other research objectives include validating device durability in the open ocean environment, measuring power output at full scale, and evaluating the levelized cost of energy produced by the device.

Project Snapshot
Project TitleOcean Energy Buoy Demonstration at U.S. Navy’s Wave Energy Test Site
AwardeeOcean Energy USA, LLC
Awardee HQ LocationCalifornia
DOE Funding Amount$5,000,000
Awardee Cost Share$4,250,000
Program AreaNext-Generation Technology Development and Manufacturing
Recipient TypeIndustry
Award TypeCompetitive Funding Opportunity Announcement
Year Awarded2014
Work LocationsCalifornia, Hawaii, Ireland, United Kingdom
Funding OpportunityFY 2014 MHK Demonstrations at the Navy's Wave Energy Test Site
Congressional District(s)CA-6, HI-2


What You Need To Know


This project supports research and development efforts toward the large-scale validation of commercial, grid-connected wave energy devices in the United States—an impactful area of energy science where the United States has the opportunity to establish leadership.

  • Validate and acquire research data from the full-scale testing of Ocean Energy Buoy technology.
  • Demonstrate the capabilities of a large machine with a capacity rating of 500 kilowatts.
  • Achieve test goals including a target average annual pneumatic performance of 131 kW and target power take-off efficiency of 70%.
  • Show that large-scale wave energy technology deployments are possible in United States.
  • Show that grid connection of large-scale wave energy devices is possible in United States.
  • Detailed design process.
  • Preferred fabricator identification and engagement, continuing with construction of hull.
  • Marine operations planning and preferred supplier engaged for ocean towing and launching method.
  • Integration of HydroAir turbine.

Project Partners

Re Vision Consulting
Real-time wave measurement system
Tritec Marine USA
Structural and mooring system design
Umbilical system design
Dresser-Rand (Siemens)
HydroAir turbine system integration
U.S. Navy
Wave energy test site operator
RG Consulting
Marine operations
Black & Veatch
Third-party validation and technical support

About the Water Power Technologies Office

DOE’s Water Power Technologies Office advances cutting-edge technology to modernize the U.S. hydropower fleet and drive U.S. leadership in wave and tidal energy, with the goal of delivering low-cost power and resiliency to America’s power grids.