Ocean Power Technologies, Inc has deployed its commercial design of the PB3 PowerBuoy approximately four miles off of the coast of New Jersey, in what the company hopes will be the final validation step prior to release of the product to target customers and markets.

The PB3 incorporates multiple enhancements over early prototypes including a redesigned power take-off (PTO), a high-capacity, modular energy storage system (ESS) providing flexibility through expanded battery capacity, a higher voltage and efficient power management and distribution system, and a new auto-ballasting system which the company says allows for faster and less costly deployment.

“We now have two PB3 PowerBuoys deployed off of the coast of New Jersey, with one of them being our anticipated commercial PB3 product offering,” explained George H. Kirby, President and Chief Executive Officer of OPT. “We believe that our commercial PB3 PowerBuoy will position us to competitively address applications in our target markets such as ocean observing, oil and gas, security and defense, and communications…This deployment represents a major milestone in our commercialization strategy enabling us to put our product in the hands of our customers. I am very proud of this critical company achievement.”

According to OPT, the energy storage system on the new PB3 will enable the storage of excess energy in low ocean wave conditions. “We have designed our commercial PB3 PowerBuoy with improvements in manufacturing, maintenance, and deployment over our prior iterations of the PowerBuoy, and we believe these may allow us to be cost-competitive as a power and communications platform for remote, offshore autonomous applications,” said Dr. Mike Mekhiche, OPT’s VP of Engineering.

“For instance, we expect that our new auto-ballasting system could reduce the cost, improve safety, and simplify logistics of deployments. We believe that all of these improvements will help to solidify our value proposition to potential customers,” added Mekhiche.

The PB3 PowerBuoy has been installed alongside the existing PowerBuoy prototype. “The data stream from the two PowerBuoys, combined with our previously announced and on-going accelerated life testing, will allow us to share a variety of performance information with current and prospective partners and customers,” said Mekhiche.