Lorne Pier wave power test success

quaGen Technologies director Nick Boyd talks to Lorne-Aireys Inlet P-12 College pupils about wave energy at the company’s demonstration unit at the Lorne Pier.

A LORNE Pier wave power trial has proved the technology works, one of the people behind the project says.

Melbourne-based AquaGen Technologies has been trialling its first open-water wave-power unit, known as a SurgeDrive, at the pier since December 2010 as a demonstration for research and development.

AquaGen managing director Nick Boyd said the 1.5-kilowatt system, which uses waves to generate emissions-free electricity, was “critical” in developing the company’s project.

“It’s all going well – we do all our work out of the water which is really the main strength of the technology,” Mr Boyd said.

“It costs more to maintain something in the water than out,” he said.

“The main thing it’s proving is that it’s the way to go in the future to compete with solar and wind.”

Mr Boyd said Lorne Pier owner Great Ocean Road Costal Committee had approved AquaGen’s system to remain at the pier for another year.

He said the company would also start seeking to develop a “phase-two pilot full-scale demonstration” of the system, which would possibly be at Portland.

“Having the trial unit at Lorne is critical,” Mr Boyd said.

“Without having something on the water that proves that concept, you have a lot of trouble getting backing,” he said.

Mr Boyd said having the SurgeDrive at the Lorne Pier was also a good community exercise and increased people’s understanding of wave power.

“We ran a school program last year with Lorne primary school for grades four, five and six kids,” Mr Boyd said.

“We set up a little assignment for them and took them on a little tour of the unit so they could learn about how wave energy works and they loved that,” he said.

AquaGen Technologies’s Lorne Pier project won a Most Outstanding Small-Scale Clean Energy Project award at an EcoGen conference last year.

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