31 Dec 2016

Waves powering US military base

8:36 am on 31 December 2016

A New Zealand-tested device that uses waves to generate power is providing electricity for a US military installation in Hawaii.

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Wave power is processed through a piston into electricity. Photo: 123rf.com

The project used a simple buoy that floated on the ocean and bobbed up and down with the waves.

That movement drove a piston, which provided the energy to generate electricity.

It was developed several years ago and tested in Wellington harbour.

The technology was acquired by Callaghan Innovation in 2013 and its intellectual property was then shared with American company Northwest Energy Innovations.

After further testing in Portland, Oregon, the device was put into practice off the coast of the Hawaiian island of Oahu.

The electricity it generated now helped power a US military installation, Marine Corps Base Hawaii.

A one kilometre-long undersea cable carried the power ashore.

Any surplus electricity which was not needed by the marines was poured into the island's electricity grid.

The device was anchored off the northern coast of Oahu, where very large waves have attracted surfing enthusiasts for years.

Its installation off Hawaii was helped by the US Department of Energy.

Callaghan Innovation retained a 50 percent share of the IP for the scheme.