BioPower Systems Completes Extensive Tests of its Full-scale O-Drive (Australia)



Ocean energy company, BioPower Systems, today announced that it has completed extensive tests of its full-scale O-DriveTM power conversion module, successfully delivering stable power to the grid over extended periods with a high level of efficiency.

The O-DriveTM 250kW module is designed to plug into wave and tidal energy systems, such as the company’s bioWAVETM and bioSTREAMTM. It is driven in an oscillating fashion to convert the ocean energy harnessed by such systems into grid-ready AC power.

Work commenced on the O-DriveTM in 2008 under a project partly funded by an Australian Commonwealth Government REDI grant. The O-DriveTM combines a hydraulic circuit, an electric generator, and complex control algorithms to convert the characteristically large forces, and slow motions, inherent to ocean waves into a steady flow of electricity. A test rig was built to reproduce ocean forces and apply these to the O-DriveTM in order to perform tests.

“Ocean energy devices typically oscillate slowly in response to huge forces, and this presents a significant challenge in terms of harnessing the energy to produce electricity. The O-DriveTM solves this problem outright, as it not only gears up the motion, but also rectifies it and smooths it, so that we can produce grid-ready electricity using a standard electric generator” the CEO of BioPower Systems, Dr Timothy Finnigan, said. “We are very pleased with the efficiency of this system, and with the quality of power that is produced.”

The O-DriveTM is designed to be detached from a moored ocean energy system, which enables easy and cost-effective maintenance. It produces high-voltage power, which allows ocean energy systems to be installed even at substantial distances from shore, as the losses during transmission are minimal.

BioPower Systems will use the O-DriveTM module in a bioWAVETM pilot demonstration off the coast of Victoria, Australia. The company also intends to produce a 1MW commercial version of bioWAVETM, which would utilise four 250kW O-DriveTM modules.

“BioPower Systems has invested substantial capital and expertise to ensure that the O-DriveTM performs optimally and reliably before deployment” said Dr Finnigan.

The company is planning to offer turnkey ocean energy solutions to project developers. Ocean energy equipment, services and support will be provided to the companies that currently develop wind farms.

“We intend to adopt a similar business model to those used in the wind energy sector. It is wellproven, and serves as a good precedent for ocean energy,” Dr Finnigan added.


Source: biopowersystems, August 08, 2011