Ocean Power Technologies' new unit will be called the Autonomous PowerBuoy Business Unit, and will target and develop opportunities in the large potential market for OPT's non-grid-connected PowerBuoys.
While OPT says it will continue to actively pursue its grid-connected Utility Systems business, the new business unit will aim to leverage OPT's leadership position in the development and ocean testing of Autonomous PowerBuoys.
Both Utility and Autonomous markets are served by the same fundamental PowerBuoy technology, though the key drivers of the Autonomous market are the application-specific needs of the prospective customers. OPT's products for this market have been developed for off-grid applications such as defense and homeland security, offshore Oil and Gas operations and oceanographic data gathering. The Company believes the Autonomous PowerBuoy market may represent a significant opportunity for profitable growth.
The Company has appointed Dr. Phil Hart to the new position of Senior Vice President, Autonomous Power, reporting to OPT's Chief Executive Officer. In his new role, Dr. Hart will lead the Company's efforts in developing the Autonomous PowerBuoy business. He previously served in the role of Chief Technology Officer since joining OPT in February, 2009. OPT shortly will announce the filling of the new role of Vice President of Engineering.
“Autonomous PowerBuoys represent a key opportunity for OPT to realise significant profitable revenue” said Dr Hart. “Building on the new and unique technology which has been successfully developed over my tenure as CTO, I believe that with great products and a diverse market, my new team has the potential to build a sustainable and large revenue stream for OPT.”
The changes reflect the expansion of OPT's core PowerBuoy offering, which, in response to customer demand, now encompasses a greater range of Autonomous products and services. For example, the Company's APB-350, or LEAP, Autonomous product features an on-board enhanced tracking technology covering a wider range of vessel surveillance, including both HF radar and acoustic sensors.