It was a disappointment, but not a surprise to find that the Oceanlinx Mk3PC prototype wave power generations system broke loose from its morning lines in rough seas and was slammed against the Port Kembela eastern break wall.
- $5m Port Kembla wave generator wrecked
- Port Kembla wave generator lies on sea floor
- Huge swell sinks wave energy generator
- Barge’swatery grave (UPDATE!)
While this is a setback, it is part of our engineering journey – learning how to build for environments whose force of nature is hard to predict. Engineering experience is our best guide. We’ve seen this in clean tech projects through out the last decade. Where engineering hubris was slammed in the team’s face as they watch their project eviscerated by the forces of nature. Oceanlinx “had more than double the required mooring lines in place to ensure its safe operation.” But, as we now know, what we refer to as “requirements” changes in the face of experience.
Is this an “energy dream sunk?” No. It is an engineering experience we need to live through, learn from, and then move forward. Oceanlinx’s concept for power generation is enticing. The prototypes are proving the technology (check the videos listed here: Oceanlinx’s media gallery). Oceanic engineering is hard. How hard? use this PG&E RFI Summary on the responses to their Wave Energy Converters (WECs). Start checking out the companies (peers to Oceanlinx). What is interesting is that few to none are at the stage of Oceanlinx. Hopefully, we’ll see a Mk3PC-2 built and deployed …. soon.