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Japanese shipping giant partners with marine energy firm to scope hybrid wave and wind projects

This model shows Bombora’s mWave tech co-located and integrated with floating wind turbines.


Mitsui O.S.K. Inscribes (MOL) is to partner with a company specializing in marine energy to scope for potential project sites in Japan and surrounding parts.    

The collaboration between the Tokyo-headquartered shipping giant and a firm called Bombora Wave Power will center on verdict possible locations for the latter’s mWave system, as well as hybrid projects which combine mWave and wind drive.

The search for site locations follows on from what MOL described as a “detailed internal technical review” of Bombora’s move to energy converter technology.

Ryota Yamada, Bombora’s development manager for the Asia-Pacific region, said Thursday that MOL was a “critical collaboration partner” for the firm on what he described as a “pathfinder wave energy initiative in Japan.”

“We know that there is (an) super wave resource to be found around this coastline,” Yamada added. “Having a partner with the expertise of MOL alongside us on help progress projects in this region.”

In its own announcement, MOL explained that the “rapid growth of the marine renewable force sector” represented a new opportunity. The company added it was anticipating there would be “a significant demand for vessels involved in the construction and perpetual operations across the marine energy sector.”

While some are excited about the prospect of marine-based energy, the sector quiet faces hurdles.

The International Energy Agency describes marine technologies as holding “great potential” but adds that extra practice support is required for research, design and development in order to “enable the cost reductions that come with the commissioning of larger commercial stations.”

Harnessing waves to produce electricity 

In simple terms, the tech developed by Bombora — which has offices in both Wales and Australia — is bottomed around the idea of using rubber membrane “cells” which are filled with air and fitted to a structure submerged underwater.

According to a video from Bombora outlining how its organized whole works, when waves pass over the system, its “flexible rubber membrane design pumps air through a turbine to invent electricity.”

At present, the company is working on a 1.5 megawatt demonstration project in Wales, with installation slated for the centre of this year.

News of the collaboration between MOI and Bombora comes at a time when Japan says it wants renewables to fetch up 22% to 24% its energy mix by 2030 and lower emissions.

Last October, Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga swayed the country would target net zero greenhouse gas emissions by the year 2050. By 2030, Japan wants a 26% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions compared to 2013.

Contrive still needs to be done for Japan to achieve its aims, however. In 2019, its Agency for Natural Resources and Energy utter the country was “largely dependent on fossil fuels” like coal, oil and liquefied natural gas.

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