Biopower Systems Interview

Nick Bruse runs StrikeConsulting, a cleantech venture consultancy; hosts the cleantech show on the podcast network; and advises Clean Technology AustralAsia Pty Ltd, the organiser of the AustralAsian Cleantech Forums, and the leading advocate of Cleantech in Australia.

Around 5 months ago I blogged on Biopower Systems an Australian company developing innovative ocean power technologies designed using the principle of bio-mimicry.

In a recent podcast interview with the CEO Tim Finnigan on The Cleantech Show we discussed the technology in more detail as the company continues with its laboratory tests. Scaled up Ocean based prototypes are planned to be tested in 2008.

Tim talks about one of the key aspects of the technology being compliance. That is these devices are designed to be compliant in the ocean, extracting energy at normal wave and current conditions, but yielding compliantly when conditions become excessive. Such as in storm or freak wave conditions.

The result of this that in these designing systems they don’t require the cost, time and testing requried cope with these scenarios. Thus the installed unit cost is lower than more traditional ocean structures, and I suspect testing times for unit resilience in the ocean to be lower also.

Corrosion and maintenance of dynamic components are obvious sensitivities, but for the most part the devices will be made from composite materials with anti-fouling surfaces.

The company has a while to go yet before the scaled ocean prototypes can demonstrate the real potential of the technology, but the company is proceeding according to its milestone projections so far. You can listen to the interview here.

REEF break for Australian wave power co.

Nick Bruse runs StrikeConsulting, a cleantech venture consultancy, and works with Clean Technology AustralAsia Pty Ltd; the organiser of the AustralAsian Cleantech Forums, and the leading advocate of Cleantech in Australia.

As the summer sun continues to blaze here in Australia, Climate change continues to feature strongly on the headlines on front pages of newspapers. Most of December’s headlines caught up in watching the megafiresbushfires spanning months and more than 1 million hectares (3,861 Sq miles). Most of January take up with continued talk of the worst drought in recorded history, real possibilities of cities running out of water and the federal government announcing a A$10 billion water package to deal with agricultural irrigation and water management.

Whilst many Australian’s are now back from their beach and surfing holidays – the green edge of Australia the only respite from a burnt or cracked dry bushland – Australian wave and ocean power company BioPower Systems has announced it has closed its latest round of funding.

CVC REEF is the cornerstone investor in this latest capital raising, which will be used to develop prototypes of BioPower Systems technology and plan for full scale ocean trials.

BioPower Systems bioWave and bioStream technologies have been designed using biomimicry of natural ocean organisms and their movement in wave and current systems. BioWave technology uses a tethered kelp analogy to generate electricity from wave movement across a broad range of wave frequency and power situations. BioStream technology uses a shark/tuna tail design operating in reverse deriving power at efficiently from tidal or current streams.

CEO Dr. Tim Finnigan states in BioPowers media release:

“The demand for renewable energy technologies that promise inexhaustible supplies of carbon-free electricity is currently high and is growing rapidly. With the prospects for wave and tidal current power now well established, global markets are eagerly awaiting commercially-viable technologies that can utilise these sources,” says Dr. Finnigan. Founded in March 2006, BioPower Systems Pty Ltd has a strategy for rapid development and is targeting 2009 for production of the first commercial units. “The upcoming funding rounds will support design and development of ocean-based pilots, leading in to production of commercial units.”

“The investment by CVC REEF concludes the first major phase of the company’s funding plan,” says Chief Executive Dr. Tim Finnigan. “The value added goes well beyond providing the necessary funds to test our ocean power systems. CVC REEF brings recognised experience to the company board and is committed to being actively involved in the growth of the company.”

BioPower Systems is developing the bioWAVE and bioSTREAM, which both borrow specific traits from highly evolved marine species to derive competitive advantages in converting the energy in ocean waves and tidal currents into grid-connected electricity. By adopting natural configurations and mechanisms, these systems maximise efficiency using minimal engineering structures. This allows streamlined low-cost designs to survive in the harsh marine environment. The cost advantages are the basis for BioPower’s commercial competitiveness in the looming global ocean energy market.”

Technology overviews and company contact information can be found for the bioWAVE and bioSTREAM technologies at the BioPower Systems website