top of page

News & updates

Case study: OE35 Wave Energy Buoy

We recently helped with the design of a pretty unique solar install here in Hawaii. The Ocean Energy OE35 Wave Energy Buoy is a 500kW wave energy converter being tested in the US Navy's Wave Energy Test Site (WETS) at Kaneohe Bay, on Oahu, for 1 year and feeding power to the nearby Marine Corps Base. The test is being done in conjunction with the US Navy, DoE, UH, Sustainable Energy Authority Ireland (SEAI), and Ocean Energy.

OE35 | world’s largest capacity floating wave energy device.

How does it work?

Floating on the ocean’s surface, the device incorporates a trapped air volume, with the lower part open to the sea. Wave pressures at the submerged opening cause the water to oscillate and drive the trapped air through a turbine to generate electricity. This energy can be exported to the grid or used in other offshore applications.

"We predict that the natural energy of the world’s oceans will one day supply much of the grid.” Prof Tony Lewis, Chief Technical Officer at OceanEnergy.

Now it's worth saying that 'buoy' might be stretching the definition in your mind, at 125 feet long by 59 feet wide with a draft of 31 feet - this is a monster! It will be deployed in early May 2024 (weather depending) and connected to the electrical grid in late May early June 2024 (weather depending). The irony is not lost on the project manager that calm weather is needed for the buoy to be deployed but then large swells are preferred in order to generate power!

Made in the USA

The OE35 was built in Portland, Oregon by Vigor Industrial over a 14 month period and weighs in at 826 ton. The OE35 buoy actually arrived in Hawaii back in December 2019 and had a traditional Hawaiian Blessing, but due to COVID restrictions that soon followed, the project has been on hold for a few years.

Where is it being tested?

The OE35 will be tested in the 60m berth at the U.S. Navy Wave Energy Test Site (WETS) located north of Mōkapu Peninsula, Marine Corps Base Hawaii, Kaneohe Bay, O’ahu, Hawai’i.

Maxeon Solar Install

The 3x415W-R Maxeon solar panels were installed by Matt at Proactive Yacht Service, based in Oahu, who has completed a number of Maxeon & SunPower installs - but mostly on cruising sailboats! The solar panels allow Ocean Energy to power the monitoring and control the system before and during the deployment without grid connect, which will allow them to gather a lot of invaluable data without a grid connection. Ocean Energy can monitor the system all the way from Ireland with the use of the Victron VRM portal as there is a Victron Cerbo GX installed on the buoy.

Each solar panel is wired to its own Victron 100|20 MPPT controller and all three controllers are charging a 24V Dakota lithium battery bank. The solar panels aboard will also serve as a power back up should there be a loss of grid connection for any reason. 

All in all a super cool project and we look forward to seeing how the Maxeon solar panels perform in the coming test period aswell as finding out how much clean power the OE35 buoy can produce and send back to the Marine Base.

Recent Posts

See All


Commenting has been turned off.
bottom of page