Oscilla Energy, Univ. of Wash. and others share $25M federal grant to spur wave vitality efforts

Seattle’s Oscilla Power in September 2021 shipped its Triton-C wave energy device to Hawaii for its first commercial-scale demonstration. (Oscilla Power Photo)

New funding: Pacific Northwest-based efforts to generate energy from the ocean are riding a wave of $25 million in new funding from the U.S. Department of Energy. Local recipients and grant amounts are:

  • Portland State University, $4.5 million
  • Seattle’s Oscilla Power, $1.8 million, which will be augmented with an additional $200,000 in cost-sharing from Oscilla and its partners
  • University of Washington, $1.3 million
  • Integral Consulting of Seattle, $379,000

The projects: The Portland State research will test electromagnetic technology as a strategy for more efficient energy generation.

The Oscilla project will allow the company to develop detailed engineering designs for a full-size, utility-scale version of its wave energy device, called the Triton Wave Energy Converter (WEC).

“This DOE project will allow us to take the concept design that we are currently completing for the U.S. West Coast through to a ready-for-construction design,” said Oscilla CEO Balky Nair.

The UW, in partnership with Integral Consulting, will study the underwater noise being created by wave energy converters that are being tested at the PacWave South facility on the Oregon Coast. The information will be helpful to wave energy entrepreneurs and regulating agencies working to make sure the devices don’t harm marine life.

State of marine energy: While it has lagged behind other clean energy technologies, namely wind and solar, recently marine energy has made headway. This fall, Oscilla and Oregon State University spinout C-Power shipped devices that generate wave energy to the U.S. Navy Wave Energy Test Site in Hawaii for testing.

Wave and other types of marine-generated energy don’t produce carbon emissions and can operate around the clock, potentially pairing with intermittent power from wind and solar to provide energy 24/7.

Rising tide of funding: Global investments in renewable energy hit a record of $366 billion last year, according to a new report from BloombergNEF — though marine energy was a small slice of that funding.

DOE previously announced $27 million in funding in July for wave energy research and development at PacWave South.

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