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SyncWave Systems gets $2.7 million

Pemberton-based company developing wave technology



A Pemberton-based energy company has received $2.7 million from the federal government towards a wave energy project to be tested off the west coast of Vancouver Island.

SyncWave Systems Inc., a company run by Pemberton resident and energy consultant Nigel Protter, has received the money through Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC), a non-profit foundation created by the federal government that finances the development of clean technologies.

The money will go towards development and demonstration of the SyncWave Power Resonator (SPR), a device that can produce electricity by harnessing energy from ocean waves. Protter plans to demonstrate the device in the waters of Hesquiaht Sound off the west coast of Vancouver Island.

The device floats on the ocean surface and captures a motion differential between two float structures: a wave follower float that helps the device float on the surface and an oscillator float that bobs up and down as the ocean waves hit it. The two structures then drive a generator to produce electricity between them.

The whole thing is 30 metres in height and pops up just above the water's surface, but most of it is undersea.

The demonstration device, according to a paper published for the International Conference on Ocean, Offshore and Arctic Engineering to take place later this year, will produce annual mean power of 25 kW with a 100 kW capacity and is appropriate for serving remote communities and those that aren't connected to power grids.

Protter hopes that the device, which uses an as-yet-untapped source of power generation, can help the province produce more green energy.

"Given how people feel about anything going on in their backyards... there had to be another large scale solution out there to the green energy dilemma," he said. "Wave energy is a technology that, if it's done offshore, it's not in anyone's backyard."

Protter has been developing the device along with engineers at the University of Victoria and said the entire project could cost $10.5 million to develop.

Once completed, the device will be outfitted for 100-year storm conditions, meaning it could survive a storm that comes only once in 100 years. To get power to land, the device will connect with a sub-sea interconnect hub that SyncWave is developing in conjunction with OceanWorks Technology, a company that develops underwater work systems.

The SyncWave website calls the SPR a "next-generation advance in the global race to commercialize wave energy."