Startup Profile – Neptune Wave Power

Tech and mobile app companies certainly get the lion’s share of press here on our site. But for fans of green energy, here’s something different. Neptune Wave Power, headquartered in Dallas, builds and sells engines. Not the kind most of you are thinking, however. These engines go into the sea, and they’re not in a boat. These engines are really floating buoys that capture the energy produced by waves in the open seas.

Originally emanating from ideas set forth by Seadyne Energy Systems, Neptune seized an opportunity to focus their efforts on building and deploying a sustainable energy platform. In June of 2010, Neptune bought the intellectual property from Seadyne, and set out to produce and test these “floating engines”. Initially, Neptune had planned to test their buoys at a Texas A&M facility. But once they learned more about what Oregon had to offer, their choice was much easier. Oregon enjoys their own Silicon Valley of sorts, with a wealth of talent, education, and expertise in green energy, specifically wave energy. That is something Texas A&M simply couldn’t compete with.

Neptune has been in discussions to deploy their production buoys with both Oregon and US federal authorities, but also with the government of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas. Yes, THAT Bahamas! Rene Larrave, CEO of Neptune Wave Power, tells me that regulatory approval has been much tougher in the US, compared to the more streamlined environment provided by the Bahamian government. On the flipside, there is a preference to deploy production buoys off the coast of Oregon, because reliably strong waves of 8-10 feet yield much more energy than the reliably calm 2-3 foot seas in the Caribbean.

Once testing is complete, and the geographic location is decided, the plan is to deploy an initial buoy followed by an array of 200 buoys for a 10 Megawatt plant. While Neptune has the capital to deploy the initial buoys, the company is currently seeking an additional $5 million in funding to deploy at the next site, as well as to hire about 5 more engineers. You can read more about Neptune Wave Power’s efforts here and here.

Brad Anderson
beanderson@juno.com