ESL: Wave Energy to Power Sensor Bouys

Electro Standards Laboratories, in collaboration with the University of Rhode Island, Kingston, are developing new systems to power remote sensor buoys or other remote ocean platforms using wave energy from the ocean.

The accomplishments include two different buoy designs, a Direct Drive System and a Resonant Drive System.

The Direct Drive System provides power from the differential motion between the buoy float and a submerged resistant plate. The Resonant Drive System amplifies the generator’s armature motion at the peak period of the sea state. Scale model testing has been performed in the URI Department of Ocean Engineering wave tank as well as at the mouth of Narragansett Bay.

The buoy system design is customized and scalable (1-250 W) and can be suited to moored or drifting applications. The targeted applications for this technology include recharging stations for UUV (Unmanned Underwater Vehicles), elimination of batteries, replacement/augmentation for solar power, sonar listening stations, weather monitoring buoys, wave monitoring buoys, Tsunami warning stations, and port monitoring.

The buoy system was designed using ULTIMO™ Lithium Ion Capacitors (LIC), for energy storage. Lithium Ion Capacitors, also referred to as Supercapacitors, use hybrid technology to provide improved energy density of 12Wh/kg or 20Wh/L, which is two to three times greater than conventional EDLC’s (Electric Double Layer Capacitors). LIC’s are an excellent energy storage solution for ocean based devices because of their high cycle life (up to 1 million cycles), long calendar life, low internal resistance, and slow self-discharge rates.

Press Release, June 04, 2014

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