Pioneer ventures to tap ocean power into usable electricity
THE AUSTRALIAN ENTREPRENEUR: Morris Kaplan | August 01, 2009
“………..BioPower Systems, backed by venture capital, already has two pilot programs under way to supply power to Flinders Island and King Island, as well as firm European interest.
To the lay person it may sound like science fiction, but Finnigan predicts the ocean will be supplying energy to Australian homes within a few years. “There’s huge opportunity; this is not just an environmental breakthrough technology but an economic one,” he says…………………..
As a pioneer in ocean and tidal energy, Finnigan joins renewable energy innovators from around the globe, leading the march to bringing new base-load energy technologies into commercial production.
Finnigan believes the content of the climate change debate is being driven by households. “There’s been a change over the last year or two. It’s become such an important issue to everyone. People are looking to renewable energy. Investors and government will follow to take a stake in renewable technology.”
Formed in 2006, BioPower Systems is commercialising Finnigan’s ocean power conversion systems. These are modular machines designed to harness ocean energy and deliver electricity ashore via a cable.
Multiple machines are deployed in the coastal ocean as a farm, not unlike a wind farm on land, with the cable running ashore and connected into the distribution grid. Unlike other renewable energy technologies, these systems are fully submerged. “They will have zero visual impact,” says Finnigan, a marine engineer with 17 years industry experience…………………………..
Biopower Systems has recently completed a $6million funding round. The private equity investment round was cornerstoned by Lend Lease Ventures with additional investment from CVC Reef and CVC Sustainable Investments.
The new capital, together with a recently awarded $5m Renewable Energy Development Initiative grant, will fund the pilot programs for BioPower’s systems at grid-connected sites in Tasmania.