Wavepower prototype launched in WA

WESTERN Australia is not being left in the wake of the latest innovations in wave energy development, with pre-commercial trials taking place at the Henderson Marine Base. Launched on March 21, Seapower Pacific’s prototype CETO wave generator will take residence at Rous Head, Fremantle, for a two-year period of testing and development and is the culmination of six years’ work. Unlike other wave systems the CETO wave power converter, designed and developed in WA, is the first unit to be fully submerged and resting on the seabed in 10 to 20 metres of water. CETO project manager Dennis Kelly, who was appointed 15 months ago for his civil marine engineering experience, said the location was ideal for testing as it combined both calm and heavy swells. "Whether we need that whole time [two years] remains to be seen," Mr Kelly said. "We’ve deliberately kept a low profile until now because there hasn’t been much to talk about. "Obviously it’s early days but the fact is we are the first in Australia to be doing this, and we think we have a good system." The main investors in the CETO project include Pacific Hydro, with a 15 per cent stake, Carnegie Group, and Alan Burns, chairman of Hardman Resources. The specific advantage of the CETO system is its safety from storms and ocean forces, as well as being a self-contained unit, according to Mr Kelly. Other wave systems require undersea grids and costly marine plants, however CETO requires only a small diameter pipe to carry high-pressure seawater ashore to either a turbine or a reverse osmosis filter, allowing it to be deployed anywhere geographical and wave conditions permit. Global testing of the renewable energy technology is at an advanced stage with UK company Wavegen already contributing to that country’s power grid. The abundance of wave power as a renewable energy source is a significant motivation for its development, with the World Energy Council estimating the global wave resource contains sufficient energy for more than twice the world’s electricity production. The CETO project takes its name from the mythological Greek sea goddess of the same name.

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