23 Sep 2015

Engineers and contractors affiliated with the Fred Olsen Lifesaver wave energy converter (WEC) participate in a traditional Hawaiian blessing ceremony Sept. 3, performed by Rev. Kordell Kekoa of Kamehameha Schools, at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam (JBPHH).

Story and photo by Blair Martin Gradel

Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam Public Affairs

The Fred Olsen Lifesaver wave energy converter (WEC), which utilizes innovative technology to convert wave power into energy, received a special Hawaiian blessing Sept. 3 at Kilo Pier at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam (JBPHH).

Members of the Life-saver’s original design team, as well as contracting partners from Sea and Sound Technology, Inc., and representatives from Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) Pacific and NAVFAC Hawaii attended.

Rev. Kordell Kekoa of Kamehameha Schools performed a traditional Hawaiian blessing ceremony.

“This is a great opportunity for us at NAVFAC and the region to support renewable energy projects,” said Lt. Cmdr. Ivan Cavenall, energy program officer for Navy Region Hawaii.

“I think with different technologies that are emerging now, wave energy as a renewable source is important to consider. I think this [blessing] is a great way for us to show partnership and support for this type of venture,” he said.

The Lifesaver, considered one of the most sophisticated WECs in the market today, was developed in Norway by Fred Olsen Renewables and recently shipped to Oahu where it will be deployed for off-shore testing at the Navy’s wave energy test site (WETS), located at Marine Corps Base Hawaii (MCBH) in Kaneohe, set to start in October.

“The [Lifesaver] is probably the most developed wave energy device in the world right now,” said Matthew Ramey, an engineer with Sound and Sea Technologies, a contracting partner with NAVFAC Pacific and NAVFAC Hawaii in charge of overseeing and maintaining the WEC’s operation at MCBH.

“This is one of the only energy converters that have been in the water for any amount of time and has had serious testing done which makes it definitely one of a kind,” Ramey said.

According to Alexandra Devisser, NAVFAC Engineering and Expeditionary Warfare Center based in California, the Lifesaver was successfully deployed for two years at the Falmouth Bay Test Site (FaB Test), an English site where marine renewable energy devices are also being tested.

“The Fred Olsen company made some design improvements which are in the buoy’s current configuration and will be tested at the (WETS),” she explained.

“There will be other buoys going into the water in the next couple of years, so this isn’t the last of the different systems and configurations that we will see,” Devisser said.

Bryan Law, regional energy program manager for NAVFAC Hawaii, agreed that the Lifesaver is an innovative device that shows considerable promise for Navy applications of wave energy.

“Most installations in the Pacific [Rim] have pretty good access to waves and a shoreline, so there is good potential for those particular bases to reduce their fossil fuel use by being able to plug directly into the grid, so to speak, and harness this kind of wave energy,” he said.

“So we are definitely tracking and supporting thee [Lifesaver’s] progress, especially on the Navy side.”

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