Columbia Power Technologies (C-Power) has unveiled plans to test and validate the technical and economic capabilities of its SeaRAY autonomous offshore power system (AOPS).

A photo of the SeaRAY device (Courtesy of C-Power)
Illustration/SeaRAY device (Courtesy of C-Power)

The upcoming sea trials for SeaRAY AOPS,
run in partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Navy, will
begin later in 2020 at the Navy’s Wave Energy Testing Site (WETS), located off
Marine Corps Base Hawaii on the island of Oahu.

Initially conceived during a U.S.
Department of Defense project, the SeaRAY AOPS provides in-situ power, energy
storage, and real-time data and communications support set to advance the
marine economy toward a future of autonomous, connected and resident
technologies.

The system is designed to support unmanned
offshore activities, including subsea vehicles, sensor packages, and operating
equipment.

When deployed at WETS, the SeaRAY AOPS will
comprise a moored configuration consisting of a surface wave energy converter, a
single, combined mooring, data, communications and power cable, and a seafloor
base unit that provides 100 kWh of energy storage for payload operation.

The SeaRAY AOPS is said to significantly
lower costs and carbon emissions, reducing operational complexity, increasing
safety, and enabling capabilities not available today. The system supports a
wide range of potential applications expected to spur innovation in critical
industries such as defense and security, offshore energy, aquaculture, and
science and research.

“The ocean is a power desert. Providing reliable power and real-time data communications through an AOPS is critical to unlock the full potential of the marine economy. The SeaRAY delivers these capabilities and enables a future of cheaper, safer, cleaner, more connected offshore operations”, said Reenst Lesemann, CEO of C–Power. “We are excited to work with our federal partners at the DOE and Navy, as well as our technical partners on the trials, which are key step toward delivering the SeaRAY AOPS to the market”.

A concept showcasing SeaRAY autonomous offshore power system (AOPS) (Courtesy of C-Power)
SeaRAY autonomous offshore power system (AOPS) concept (Courtesy of C-Power)

C-Power’s technology partners for the sea
trials include EC-OG, RigNet, EOM Offshore and Saab Group.

Peter Erkers, sales director for underwater systems at Saab Dynamics, sadi: “Saab is leading the industry toward achievement of autonomous residence, which is an absolute market requirement for delivering reduced carbon emissions, lower costs and increased capabilities. The SeaRAY provides the key operational support – power generation, energy storage and real-time communications capabilities – that enables system residency. C-Power’s AOPS is the missing piece of the puzzle“.

The SeaRAY’s seafloor base unit will be provided by Scottish engineering company EC-OG.

EC-OG’s 100-kWh Halo lithium-ion battery energy storage system is designed for the harsh subsea environment and will be fully integrated with the AOPS, providing the payload interfaces for power, data and communications, the project partners said.

Paul Slorach, EC-OG business development director, said: “The main driver behind Halo is to enable offshore autonomy and energy availability for remote subsea operations. We are excited to be working with C-Power and the other project partners to demonstrate the capabilities of the AOPS technology. There is huge global market potential”.

Following successful completion of the WETS
sea trials, C-Power expects to complete commercial launch of the SeaRAY in 2021.

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