By Ramona du Houx

August 13, 2013

The University of Maine, the Maine Maritime Academy and two partner organizations are sharing a federal grant of nearly $1 million to develop a system that could help capture renewable energy from the motion of ocean waves and offshore winds.

The funds will be used to build a first-of-its-kind wind-wave basin facility at UMaine’s Advanced Structures and Composites Center.

The multidirectional Wind-Wave generating system, known as W2, would simulate wave and wind conditions found in ocean environments like the Gulf of Maine.

Sandia National Laboratories and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory will partner with the educational facilities to develop the system.

By better understanding the effects of waves and wind shears that are typical in an ocean environment, researchers will be able to develop new methods of capturing renewable energy. The research could help guide construction of future offshore renewable energy devices as well as aid the technologies already being developed at the Composites Center.

UMaine’s Composite Center has already helped the Ocean Renewable Power Company (ORPC) with their research and development of the first North American tidal power turbine in action off of Machias. And the Center has a prototype, the first ever offshore floating wind turbine in the America’s, producing energy off of Castine, Maine.