With the loss of a competitor’s 1500-ton device in the Bay of Fundy, how is the OCE turbine secured in place?
OCE uses a patented design known as SEACATS, which is a honeycomb of hexagonal cells. Architecturally, the honeycomb design is one of the strongest, since each cell supports those others around it. In addition, each individual cell has an opening in the center through which the current flows. This feature counters the Betz Effect, wherein fluids seek the path of least resistance, thereby flowing around structures. Since each cell is constructed from composites that are buoyant, there is no need for an enormous and costly steel and concrete structure to stabilize the turbines.
Conventional hydrokinetic devices are several times larger than OCE’s turbine. As a result, don’t they sweep much larger areas and thus potentially tap more energy to produce electricity?
It is true that a greater swept area will produce more power, however, a far greater contributor to production is the relative speed of flow across a rotor. The amount of power generated is proportional to the magnitude of relative flow speed cubed while it is only directly proportional to the swept area of a rotor. In our design, the shroud surrounding each turbine accelerates water past each rotor, creating a Venturi Effect. Leveraging this effect also allows OCE turbines to “cut-in” at a lower current speed.
The Gulfstream is about 1200 feet deep off the Atlantic Coast of South Florida. How does one exploit the fastest current, which is located in the 500 feet closest to the surface?
Since the SEACATS system is buoyant, we have designed an approach to anchor it to the sea floor and float it below the surface using a tension leg system common in the offshore oil industry. Electricity production would flow down the anchor line and ashore through a cable.
How is the system maintained after it is installed?
Each cell is only five meters across, and buoyant. However, it is also modular, so, in the event of a failure, a conventional service boat could swap out the defective cell. This is as opposed to specialized craft needed for more conventional, multi-ton devices.
How would the system be affected by flotsam, jetsam, and shipping?
Most debris is either on the surface or on the seafloor. SEACATs would be suspended below surface turbulence and shipping.
What are environmental concerns and how do you address them?
While protecting all marine life is a priority, certain animals are a protection priority for regulatory agencies, and we therefore focus on ensuring our equipment will not adversely affect those, first. These include: marine mammals (whales, porpoise, etc.), sea turtles, and several protected corals. Smaller fishes have been demonstrated to not only have the agility to avoid contact with potentially harmful structure, but to also survive passage through hydroelectric dam turbines that spin 100’s of RPMs quicker, but which have little room to maneuver around spinning blades. We are leveraging our small-scale testing phases to evaluate and address any negative interactions with our equipment in cooperation with leading researchers and scientists.

If you wish to have us address other questions, please contact us directly.