Mitsui O.S.K. Lines Exploring Opportunities in Wave and Marine Energy

Mitsui exploring new business opportunities from wave and marine energy projects
Bombora's concept combining wind and wave energy projects (Bombora)

Published Jan 7, 2021 3:15 PM by The Maritime Executive

Mitsui O.S.K. Lines (MOL) has entered into an agreement with a marine energy development company, Bombora Wave Power, seeking to identify the potential for wave energy projects as either standalone sites or combined with offshore wind farms. 

The new project is part of an initiative to develop new and sustainable business growth opportunities. MOL believes the rapidly growing marine renewable energy sector represents a new opportunity, anticipating significant demand for vessels involved in the construction and ongoing operations across the marine energy sector.

While a broad range of companies have sought to realize the emerging opportunities in offshore wind with the installation projects, this represents the first time a major shipping line is also looking at the emerging wave energy technologies. 

Bombora, headquartered in Wales, has developed a membrane style wave energy converter and is in the process of installing its first demonstration project. The membranes deflect as ocean waves pass over causing air to pass through a turbine to generate electricity. The electricity can then be directly transferred to shore via a submerged cable. By integrating wave energy technologies into offshore wind projects, Bombora says it is possible to generate 50 percent more power from seabed lease areas and 50 percent more consistent power by combining into a single project.

MOL’s global marine transport group has completed a detailed internal technology review of Bombora’s wave energy converter technology. In the second phase of the partnership, they will identify potential sites for both wave energy projects and the opportunities to combine wind and wave energy projects in Japan and the neighboring regions. The companies highlighted the opportunities to reduce the reliance on diesel fuel for island communities and said they will also investigate the broader utility power potential off Japan’s Pacific coastline.

Japan is seen as one of the most promising markets for the development of the offshore energy market. The Japanese government is targeting the installation of 10GW by 2030 and aims to install between 30GW and 45GW of offshore wind by 2040. The Japanese Wind Power Association forecast a potential of more than 500GW of floating offshore wind capacity in Japan. 

MOL says it will bring its expertise in maritime consultation, offshore marine operations, and regional industry supply chain knowledge to the joint study. Bombora is currently in the final assembly phase of its 1.5MW mWave Pembrokeshire Demonstration Project in Wales with installation scheduled for mid-2021. Bombora has also started a partnership project with TechnipFMC, seeking to integrate the wave energy technology with wind generation on one floating offshore platform. They plan to demonstrate a 12MW Integrated mWave and wind floating platform later expanding to 18MW.