Ocean Power Technologies (OPT) awarded contract by Mitsui Engineering & Shipbuilding in Japan

The ¥70 million (approximately US $900,000) contract from Mitsui (MES) will be to further develop the Company’s PowerBuoy technology for Japanese sea conditions.

Under the contract, OPT will continue to analyse methods to "maximise buoy power capture using advanced optimisation methodologies, as well as modelling and wave tank testing".

The announcement follows the formation of OPT's new unit, which will focus on addressing the global market potential for autonomous PowerBuoys.

OPT says it will team with Mitsui Engineering & Shipbuilding (MES) staff to develop PowerBuoy enhancements that, under normal Japanese wave conditions, would provide for improved power capture. This analysis and design work is expected to be completed by the end of OPT’s fiscal year ending April 30, 2013 after which a decision will be made on the next steps toward ocean trials of a demonstration PowerBuoy system.

This would provide the basis for a prospective build-out of a commercial-scale OPT wave power station in Japan.

“As we remember the 2011 earthquake and tsunami that had such a devastating impact on the nuclear power industry in Japan, we are working with Ocean Power Technologies to commercialise ocean-based clean energy alternatives” said Mr. Hirotaka Ohashi, Deputy General Manager of Business Development and Innovation at MES. “We have several years of experience with OPT and respect the position their technology holds in the market. Working together, we look forward to bringing a series of new PowerBuoys to Japan.”

The Japanese Environment Minister has recently released Japan’s new strategy to increase the present generating capacity of renewable energy in Japan sixfold. The Japanese government specifically identified wave energy as a key component of this policy, setting a goal of 1,500 MW in new power generation capacity by 2030 using wave and tidal power sources.

A new feed-in tariff is helping push renewable energy forward in Japan.

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Policy, investment and markets  •  Wave and tidal energy