A Warwick company at the forefront of developing technology to convert ocean wave power into electricity has won an additional $1.1?million (£768?million) in funding for a project it is developing with the US Navy.
The money will help develop Ocean Power Technologies’ Powerbuoy system off the Hawaiian island of Oahu.
Powerbuoys are anchored offshore and convert wave motion into electricity.
The Hawaiian project is designed to power a US Marine Corps headquarters.
OPT, which is headquartered in New Jersey, is working on a similar project to supply electric power to power underwater sensors and surveillance equipment off the eastern seaboard of America.
The company’s European operation based at Warwick is developing the world’s first large-scale “wave farm” off the coast of Cornwall and has more advanced projects under way off the Orkneys and the coast of Spain.
OPT chief executive Mark Draper, who previously headed the Warwick operation, said of the Hawaii scheme: “This project reflects the on-going commitment of the US Navy to renewable energy generation and sustainable development.
“It furthers the long-standing partnership which OPT has had with the US Navy in developing our core Powerbuoy technology.
“Our success to date owes much to this shared commitment to renewable energy. We expect to leverage this program in the commercial expansion of our business on a international scale.”
The Powerbuoy system in Hawaii was deployed in October 2008 in 100ft of water one mile offshore, OPT said.
Initial commissioning tests produced power levels in line with predictions.
The additional funding will primarily support further testing and upgrades to improve the durability of the buoys, each of which is about as large as a house.
The wave power project has undergone extensive environmental assessment by a independent engineering company which evaluated its potential impact on the seabed, fish, organisms, vegetation and water quality.
OPT said the tests resulted in a “finding of no significant impact”, or FONSI, which the company says is the highest level of environmental rating and the only one so far to be awarded to a wave energy company.