Pure Marine on the crest of a US wave

Pure Marine must now fine tune its design to meet the challenge of its eight international rivals
Pure Marine must now fine tune its design to meet the challenge of its eight international rivals

Technology developed by a Northern Ireland firm has shown it is among the best in the world of wave energy.

Pure Marine, based at the NI Science Park, has been selected as one of only nine finalists for the US Department of Energy’s (DoE) Wave Energy Prize competition.

The global competition is seeking to identify the emerging technology best placed to create a step change in the cost of energy generated from waves.

After an initial assessment of 94 proposals, followed by the detailed assessment of 20 technologies, the DoE has selected the firms they believe have the most potential to cut the cost of generating electricity from wave power by half.

It will now contribute $125k to each of the final firms for the construction and testing of a larger scale device at the US Navy’s MASK test facility in Carderock, Maryland.

The selection process involved assessment of numerical modeling data followed by tank testing of 1/50th-scale models of the 20 devices taken through the initial assessment. The 1/50th-scale DUO device, designed and built by Pure Marine at the science park, was tested across the full-range of sea-states at the University of Iowa’s recently installed test facility.

The Pure Marine team, will now focus on delivering and successfully testing a larger 1/20th-scale device with the aim of capturing the $1.5m prize available for the winning technology.

“It is really encouraging that following a rigorous, independent technical assessment the DUO technology has been demonstrated to perform so well and has been selected for the final of the competition”, said Paul Brewster, Pure Marine’s chief technology officer.

“This is exactly the type of thorough, independent analysis that investors have been seeking to give them the confidence to invest in the DUO technology.”

Science Park CEO Norman Apsley added: “It is wonderful to see a technology developed in Belfast, and the determination, skill and ingenuity of Pure Marine’s team, be rewarded in this way.

“ Such competitions in the US are a big deal, a precursor to significant interest and a commensurate investment.

“Paul has been based at the Science Park since its formation working on various marine energy projects and was noticed by our patron HRH Duke of York who introduced him to some of the biggest players in global energy through the Pitch@Palace initiative to support Entrepreneurs.