Awards Registry

Ocean Current Power Generator
Profile last edited on: 4/1/02

Total Award Amount
Award Phase
Principal Investigator
George A O'Sullivan
Activity Indicator

Company Information

Abacus Controls

80 Readington Road Po Box 893
Somerville, NJ 08876
   (908) 526-6010
Multiple Locations:   
Congressional District:   07
County:   Somerset

Phase I

Phase I year
Phase I Amount
Extracting energy from the oceans has long been a dream of mankind. The gulf stream flowing north between the Florida peninsula and the Bahama Islands is a power source with sufficient velocity to be converted to electrical power using technology available now. Abacus Controls, Inc and its partner UEK Corporation are building conversion equipment and hydroturbines that convert river flow to electrical power. Extending these designs to the ocean, with its need for maneuverability because of the shifting currents in the Gulf Stream, will provide a variable speed power conditioning and adaptive position control for maximum efficiency. Phase I will produce a prototype design with 75 kw capability that will convert variable power from the ocean current to user ready quality power delivered to the utility grid. Research and development solutions to managing the distance between the ocean current and the shore and the necessary maneuverability are made easier because of the proprietary Abacus and UEK designs.

Commercial Applications and Other Benefits as described by the awardee:
The ocean current power generator takes advantage of natural forces to create environmentally and ecologically clean power that when fully developed, perhaps within five years, will be economically competitive with fossil fuel plants.

Phase II

Phase II year
2001 (last award dollars: 2001)
Phase II Amount
The Gulf Stream off the southeastern coast of Florida is a natural source of renewable energy that is ready for development using today’s technology. Unlike other renewable sources, water flows 24 hours a day and can be counted on as a base source of electric power. This project will utilize the Underwater Electric Kite, which has been tested in the Niagara River and is ready for ocean deployment. A multi-discipline team has been assembled to determine the best location, taking the cost into consideration as well as such technical factors as: (1) the anticipated water velocity and its tolerance in magnitude and direction, (2) detailed plans for cable and vessel design for the water velocity and the ocean environment, and (3) the electric design to bring the power to shore safely and reliably. In Phase I, the Underwater Electric Kite was sized for the 180 cm/sec water flow and all power components were selected. The cable and mooring technique was conceptually completed. In Phase II, a detailed design of the Underwater Electric Kite will be completed and production drawings will be created. A communication method between the shore and the vessel will be developed along with a maximum power tracking strategy. Finally, a prototype ocean current power generator will be built and tested in Chesapeake Bay.

Commercial Applications and Other Benefits as described by the awardee:
Present estimates show that a 10MW generator park can be built for $3.56 per watt. This would have a factor of six advantage over photovoltaics: a two-to-one advantage in installation cost and a three to one advantage in running 24 hours per day instead of 8. Once the prototype is operational, Florida utilities should be anxious to take advantage of a free fuel source of power that needs no real estate, can’t be seen, can’t be heard, can’t be smelled, and is environmentally, ecologically, and economically attr