OSU wave energy tester craft “Ocean Sentinel” floated today Toledo to Newport – Journey continues Sunday to area off Yaquina Head
Riding a high tide Sunday afternoon, a tug pulled the Oregon State University wave energy testing device called the “Ocean Sentinel” from Toledo down to Newport where it will be prepared for the second phase of its premier journey to a spot off Yaquina Head. There it will be anchored to the bottom and will be readied to begin testing a new wave energy generating device belonging to a New Zealand energy company called WET-NZ.
Commercial wave energy companies all over the world are trying to come up with proven wave energy designs that work, and work verifiably and reliably. For that they turn to disinterested third parties like universities and colleges that have substantial credibility as testing entities. Wave energy devices are placed in a particular region of the ocean and feed their electrical output to OSU’s Ocean Sentinel which records not only the amount of energy a device generates, but also under what kinds of wind, temperature and wave conditions. So if a particular design is certified as having reached a certain level of performance, it can make those claims more credibly to private firms or utilities in their sales information.
OSU Sea Grant’s Kaety Hildenbrand says such third-party testing is a relatively new phenomenon in the wave energy industry. She says there are just a handful around the world. She says OSU’s Ocean Sentinel will be towed under the Yaquina Bay Bridge early Sunday morning and hauled out to a spot a couple miles northwest of Yaquina Head. Soonafter it will be married up with the New Zealand wave energy device and begin testing its electrical output – the first client to use OSU’s new wave energy testing service.