This picture shows Bombora’s mWave technology located next to and integrated into floating wind turbines.
Mitsui O.S.K. Lines (MOL) will partner with a marine energy company to develop potential project locations in Japan and the surrounding regions.
The collaboration between the Tokyo-based shipping giant and a company called Bombora Wave Power will focus on finding possible locations for the latter’s mWave system, as well as hybrid projects that combine mWave and wind energy.
The search for locations follows what MOL calls the “detailed in-house technical review” of Bombora’s wave energy converter technology.
Ryota Yamada, Bombora’s Asia-Pacific development manager, said Thursday that MOL is a “major collaborator” for the company in what he calls the “Pathfinder Wave Energy Initiative in Japan.”
“We know there is (an) excellent wave resource on this coast,” added Yamada. “A partner with MOL’s expertise at our side will help drive projects in this region forward.”
In its own announcement, MOL stated that the “rapid growth of the marine renewable energy sector” represented a new opportunity. The company anticipated that “there will be significant demand for ships involved in the construction and operations of the entire marine energy sector.”
While some are excited about the prospect of ocean energy, the sector still faces hurdles.
The International Energy Agency describes marine technologies as “great potential”, but adds that additional policy support is needed for research, design and development to “enable the cost reductions that come with bringing larger commercial facilities up and running”.
Using waves to generate electricity
In simple terms, the technology developed by Bombora, which has offices in Wales and Australia, is based on the idea of using rubber membrane cells that are filled with air and attached to a structure submerged in water.
According to a video by Bombora describing how his system works, his “flexible rubber membrane design pumps air through a turbine to generate electricity” when waves run across the system.
The company is currently working on a 1.5 megawatt demonstration project in Wales, the installation of which is scheduled for mid-year.
The news of the MOI-Bombora collaboration comes at a time when Japan wants renewables to make up 22% to 24% of its energy mix by 2030 and reduce emissions.
In October last year, Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said the country would aim for net greenhouse gas emissions of zero by 2050. By 2030, Japan aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 26% compared to 2013.
However, work remains to be done to ensure that Japan meets its goals. In 2019, the Agency for Natural Resources and Energy said the country was “largely dependent on fossil fuels” such as coal, oil and liquefied natural gas.