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  • Wave Energy Converter: From Concept to Reality

    As we search to find new solutions to our energy needs, our gaze turns to the sea. The forces of wind, wave, and tide carry immense power that is lost in the ocean’s churning cycles. How can we capture this power and put it to work for us? This is the question Oscilla Power, Inc. (OPI) seeks to answer in their quest to develop commercial wave energy converters.

    Bringing the Triton-C to Life

    Wave energy converters (WECs) utilize the ocean’s kinetic wave energy to generate power. The challenge is to design a system that can maximize the amount of energy extracted from the waves, while withstanding the constant barrage of harsh elements. OPI developed a conceptual WEC design, the Triton, and received a grant to develop their technology to the community-scale level and install it at a test site in Hawaii. OPI turned to Glosten to support development of the Triton-C WEC from concept through construction.

    Our experience with offshore structures allowed us to develop an effective float design, installation procedures, and equipment arrangement for efficient operation and maintenance, and to design for ocean loads. Our team was tasked with integrating OPI’s proprietary design through a FEED (Front End Engineering Design) cycle. Glosten developed an optimal arrangement that considered the complicated interactions between the competing design requirements.

    Optimization Through Iteration

    As a community-scale device, space is limited, and the mechanical systems had to be efficiently arranged to provide access for both installation and maintenance. Glosten designed a cooling system that not only fit in this tight space, but was also autonomous, maintaining operational temperatures for multiple mechanical systems across a wide range of environmental conditions. The team also optimized the steel structural design for construction, while considering the need to minimize weight and provide access to the mechanical systems. Building upon the design developed in FEED, Glosten created a design package for construction of the Triton-C, and our team continues to provide support through the build.

    Onward and Upward

    Construction is expected to be complete in 2020, after which the system will be shipped to Hawaii and deployed at a test site off Kaneohe Bay. OPI will improve the design based on lessons learned during testing, and eventually bring the design to market with deployments around the world. OPI isn’t stopping there – they are already looking ahead to their next WEC project and have enlisted Glosten to support continued development and testing of a utility-scale device three times the size of the Triton-C.

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