Oscilla Power’s Triton wave energy system is a TIME Best Invention for 2022

Oscilla Power’s Triton grid-scale ocean wave energy converter (WEC) was named one of TIME’s Best Inventions for 2022.

Estimates are that the total marine energy resource in the U.S. is about 2,300 TWh per year. Importantly, wave energy can help balance the variability of solar and wind and can enable CO2 emissions from power generation to be reduced to less than half their predicted 2050 levels, according to a release.

Oscilla Power’s wave energy systems are based on an approach known as a “multi-mode point absorber.” This consists of a geometrically optimized surface float with a submerged, ring-shaped reaction structure that hangs beneath on three tendons. This design moves in all six degrees of freedom during wave motion, enabling it to continuously generate energy, Oscilla Power said.

Oscilla Power is producing two wave energy systems with this multi-mode architecture: the Triton and the Triton-C. The Triton is a 1 MW rated power system that is designed to be installed in large arrays to provide utility-scale power, while the Triton-C is a 100 kW rated power system designed for remote or isolated communities or small coastal facilities.

To compile the list, TIME solicited nominations from its editors and correspondents around the world, paying special attention to growing fields — such as the electric vehicle industry, green energy and the metaverse. TIME evaluated each contender on a number of key factors, including originality, efficacy, ambition and impact.

“It is an honor to have been selected as a TIME Best Invention,” said Balky Nair, Oscilla Power chief executive officer. “It is a testament to the work of our team, the belief of our funders and the support of our partners in the public and private sector. We look forward to fully commercializing Triton in the coming year.”

The company, based in Seattle, is aiming to make its Triton WEC the first ocean wave energy system ever to produce power at a levelized cost that is on par with other forms of clean power generation.

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Author: Elizabeth Ingram