A new energy concept that generates electricity from ocean waves has come out of the high desert of New Mexico.
Two companies, Atmocean, Inc., and Reytek Corporation, both based in the state, have developed technology to transmit pressurized seawater from wave-driven pistons in the ocean to an electrical generating device onshore.
Phil Kithil of Atmocean, which owns the wave piston technology, and Phil Fullam of Reytek, a systems components company, approached the NMSBA Program with their Wave Energy Leveraged Project. To help assess the feasibility of their energy concept, NMSBA paired them with Rick Givler, a specialist in modeling physical systems at Sandia National Laboratories. Givler modeled the pump arrays under real wave conditions and determined that the system produces enough pressure and flow in the seawater through more than a mile of piping to generate electricity
when it gets onshore.
Givler’s model helped Kithil show that the costs of the electricity enerated onshore, taking into account existing, full-scale component costs, are comparable to other renewable energy costs and, in certain locations, could be equal to traditional energy costs. The collaborative work not only verified the project as feasible and viable in the emerging wave energy industry, it also helped Atmocean attract a six-figure investment for continued product testing and increased component manufacturing at Reytek.