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Summer Test Update

Posted by: | September 6, 2013 | No Comment |

It’s summer in Oregon, the weather’s beautiful, and what does that mean at NNMREC? Ocean Sentinel, our mobile ocean test buoy is in the PMEC-NETS in Newport, characterizing wave energy buoys. But wait…you’re on Yaquina Head with binoculars and you see Ocean Sentinel, but nothing else. What’s the story?

Unfortunately, this growing industry relies on funding to develop devices, to test these devices, advancing devices to maturity when we will have commercial arrays and energy from ocean waves powering our lights. And this year, the funding was not in place for a developer who needed to test with Ocean Sentinel to be out in the water.

Is this bad?  Well, it’s tough for us around NNMREC to be patient. It was so exciting to kick off our first testing season with WET-NZ in 2012. We were all ready to do it again. But NNMREC is more than just device testing. We are university faculty and students who do research to understand not only how much energy devices produce but also the effects of these devices on the ocean environment. And to help us in future tests, we’re taking the opportunity to do environmental monitoring around Ocean Sentinel, and to study its behavior, understanding attributes like the forces Ocean Sentinel exerts on its mooring system. By doing this kind of research, we’ll have a better idea when we monitor a device whether the effects we observe are due to the Sentinel or to the device. By understanding Ocean Sentinel’s mooring system better, we may be able to help developers with their designs.

Even when it looks calm in the water, NNMREC may be up to something below the surface that is helping us to understand wave energy and what it means for our environment and communities.

Belinda Batten, Director

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