Canada: AOE Proves Wave Energy Technology
With founders and potential investors looking on; Jim Matei, COO of AOE pulled the test buoy out into a calm ocean, secured it to the anchoring system and with mechanically generated waves began compressing air. Gauges on the dock launching area read almost 10 PSI after only a couple small waves.
The AOE system is a patented wave energy accumulator designed to compress air in stages to any desired PSI reaching over 6000 PSI. The Ocean Buoy Array System (OBAS), with 10 individual 32’ buoys is projected to have a power output rating in excess of 1MW. While there is currently no magnitude of scale equipment available for converting the compressed air to drive a turbine or pneumatic motor, AOE has patents pending for converting diesel engines to operate on compressed air and is developing compressed air turbines and pneumatic motors.
“This is an exciting time in energy production,” Jim Matei stated, “Compressed air has always been expensive to produce so applications have been limited. This technology opens up the industry to develop machines that operate on air.” Currently fossil fuel systems compress air used by pneumatic equipment but it is AOE’s objective to make this possible with wave energy.
AOE sees the OBAS as the first step in producing green energy for use world-wide. “There are at least five million sites around the world that have the current and wave patterns necessary to compress air,” says Jim Matei. He sees this technology as leading the way for new technologies that will be specifically built for using compressed air. AOE has already identified reverse osmosis and aquaculture as two markets that could immediately make use of the AOE technology with the addition of a new turbine or pneumatic motor.
There are many advantages to using compressed air as the energy means to operate machinery; air is plentiful and renewable. The AOE system uses no fluids, doesn’t draw water into the system which affects micro-organisms nor does it use submerged turbines that can kill marine life. Manufacturing and transporting compressed air has some unique advantages, “compressed air has little weight,” explained Jim Matei, “so a 10 gallon tank full of compressed air weighs only marginally more than the same tank empty. Furthermore any leak is totally benign.”
“Our next step is to produce a quarter scale system to test in Ireland,” stated Michael Geoghegan, CEO and President of AOE, “From there we intend to produce a full scale system to test in Belmullet, Ireland.” The Galway Wave Energy Testing Park in Ireland has invited the company to come to the world class test site where AOE will be able to further refine its technology.
The wave energy accumulator technology is the invention of engineer Joe Sieber, Vice President of Technology with AOE, who joined with Jim Matei earlier this year to form AOE Accumulated Ocean Energy Inc. A team of professionals passionate about the environment was quickly formed to support the clean technology company and commenced production on the 1/8 scale prototype. Jim Matei and Joe Sieber have combined their vast engineering and extensive practical experience to produce a workable prototype system that is now proven to compress air from ocean waves.
“I am thrilled with the progress that the company has made in such a short time and look forward to many more successes,” Joe Sieber remarked.
Press release, September 18, 2013; Image: aoecanada