Wave Energy Project Proposed for Maui

February 13, 2008

Oceanlinx Limited announced on February 4 that it plans to install a 2.7-megawatt wave energy project off the northeast coast of Maui. Oceanlinx, an Australian company that was previously called "Energetech," signed a memorandum of understanding on the project with Renewable Hawaii, Inc., a subsidiary of Hawaiian Electric Company, Inc. (HECO). The $20 million project will include three wave platforms and could be operating by the end of 2009. Each platform will employ oscillating water column technology, in which a cylinder is suspended in the ocean with its open end facing down, trapping air in the top. As waves pass the cylinder, the trapped air is compressed and forced out through a turbine, and in the trough of the wave, air is sucked back through the turbine and into the cylinder. Oceanlinx takes a unique approach to this technology by using a turbine with variable-pitch blades, a variable-speed generator, and a complex control system. See the Oceanlinx Web site.

Oceanlinx recently completed a successful full-scale trial of its technology at its pilot installation in Port Kembla, Australia, giving credence to its plans for Maui. And the wave energy project is well-timed, as Hawaii recently signed an agreement with DOE to establish the Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative, which aims to meet 70% of the state's energy needs with renewable energy by 2030. See the HECO press release, the Oceanlinx press release (PDF 314 KB), and the DOE Web page on the Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative. Download Adobe Reader.