SurveillanceDHS funds more tests of autonomous power buoy for ocean surveillance

Published 6 September 2012

Ocean Power Technologies (OPT) has entered into an agreement with DHS Science & Technology Directorate to perform a new round of in-ocean tests on the company’s Autonomous PowerBuoy to demonstrate its use for ocean surveillance

Another entry in autonomous power buoy development // Source:

Ocean Power Technologies (OPT) said the other day that it has entered into a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) with DHS Science & Technology Directorate (S&T) to perform a new round of in-ocean tests on its Autonomous PowerBuoy further to demonstrate its use for ocean surveillance.

DHS S&T Borders and Maritime Security Division will collaborate with OPT to demonstrate the effectiveness of its long-duration maritime vessel detection platform. This will involve the redeployment of an APB-350 Autonomous PowerBuoy off the coast of New Jersey, where previous work through the U.S. Navy’s Littoral Expeditionary Autonomous PowerBuoy (LEAP) program last year produced positive results, including higher-than-predicted power harvesting capability and survivability during Hurricane Irene and its 50-foot high waves.

OPT says that in tandem with the CRADA, it has been awarded a new $75,000 grant from the Maryland Technology Development Corporation (MTDC) via a joint technology transfer initiative to show how the Autonomous PowerBuoy can be used with multiple surveillance technologies. OPT will leverage its experience from the LEAP program in surface vessel detection to demonstrate an enhanced tracking technology covering a wider variety of vessels. This technology will feature an acoustic sensor system in addition to the existing HF RADAR. This will allow the PowerBuoy to collect data for ocean observing applications at the same time as it performs its enhanced surveillance duties, thus demonstrating the dual use of the PowerBuoy technology.

Building on our success in 2011 with the LEAP deployment, we are pleased to be implementing this advanced maritime security payload on our Autonomous PowerBuoy” said Charles Dunleavy, CEO of OPT. “The CRADA and the grant from the MTDC will assist us in the expansion of the Autonomous PowerBuoy capability for vessel detection operations, which is one of the significant potential markets for this product. We look forward to deploying the upgraded device.”

The company says that the Autonomous PowerBuoys is an important part of its commercial product offering, and have been designed to generate power for off-grid applications such as offshore oil and gas installations, fish-farming, as well as security and maritime monitoring. In February 2012, OPT reported results of the LEAP program under which its device supplied continuous power in excess of 400W throughout the entire deployment and produced peak sustained electrical power of 1,500W, easily exceeding the critical design goals.