A wave-powered navigational buoy, developed by the National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT), to guide ships in and out of ports, was launched here on Monday. The buoy, deployed at Ennore Kamarajar Port here, would help ships, moving in and out of the harbour, navigate through a designated channel. According to the NIOT, the buoy’s beacon, for guiding ships, is powered by wave energy while conventional ones use solar power.
The buoy stores energy generated by waves in a battery.Also, the buoy would be able to record data on wind speed and direction various other aspects, which would be relayed to port authorities, it said. The buoy was launched by Secretary, Ministry of Earth Sciences M Rajeevan on the eve of the 33rd executive committee meeting of International Energy Agency-Ocean Energy Systems Collaboration Programme (IEA-OES) and as part of a workshop ‘Harnessing Energy from the Oceans — A global Scenario’. The meeting, on November 14 and 15 at NIOT premises here, would be held for the first time in India. Rajeevan, along with Chairman of OES Henry Jeffrey and its Member-Secretary Ana e Brito Melo, also inaugurated an Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC) desalination test facility at the NIOT premises. Head of Energy and Fresh Water, NIOT, Purnima Jalihal told reporters that the buoy, designed for a lifespan of about 15-20 years, is fully indigenous and it costs less than imported buoys. About how many wave-powered navigational buoys could be produced annually, Rajeevan said, “We have to team up with industry.” He said commercialisation was a focus area. Asked if there was any time frame for commercialisation, Rajeevan said it depended on several factors including approvals. Ocean Energy Systems Technology Collaboration Programme is an intergovernmental collaboration between countries. It operates under the framework established by the International Energy Agency, a NIOT release said, adding India became a member of the forum in April this year. With the membership, India would have access to advanced research and development teams, technologies and data in the area of ocean energy across the world, it said. India would join working groups to partner with other countries in developing ocean energy technologies and this would help in testing indigenous prototypes in accordance with international requirements and norms, the release said. OES brings together countries in advancing research and development of conversion technologies to harness energy from renewable resources such as tides, waves, currents, and temperature gradient for electricity generation and other uses such as desalination.