As the demand of energy continues to grow, there is an increasing need for new resources of clean energy storage. Ocean energy storage is one such source that presents a number of advantages over other alternatives as we have discussed in our previous article How Does Offshore Wind Farms Work.

Ocean renewable energy sources have the potential to help us move to a cleaner energy future.  Advancements in technologies, such as wind, and solar have previously proven to be commercially viable.  To meet the flexibility of future grid demands, offshore renewable energy systems, like their land equivalents, need power storing capacity.

What are the different types of ocean batteries?

Ocean batteries have two main types, i.e. underwater compressed air energy storage (UCAES) and underwater pumped hydro storage (UPHS).

Underwater Compressed Air Energy Storage (UCAES

In this system, air with high pressure is kept within big flexible sacks on the seabed and the mass of the water column produces sufficient pressure to keep the pressured air within the bags from bursting. Once the stored energy has to be liberated, a turbine generator allows the compressed air inside the bag to escape out, producing electrical energy. 

UCAES systems perform best at depth of 600 – 800 meters under the water; the depth of water delivers the pressure required for most turbine generators that use compressed air energy storage.

Underwater Pumped Hydro Storage (UPHS)

Seawater is employed as the working medium rather than using air in a UPHS device. These systems use solid steel and concrete cylinders that sit on the seabed and circulate seawater in and out.  For instance, the system allows high-pressure seawater from outside of the tank to flow through an aperture and travel through a rotor that operates a generator to release the power stored in the tank.  This seawater with high pressure pushes the turbine, which generates electricity.  The seawater within the tank is pushed out now to recharge the system, making room inside the compartment for the next discharge process.

These energy storage systems are best used for short intervals of electricity, such as decreasing peak loads on the power system (a process known as peak shaving). The optimal design for these systems includes a concrete wall thickness capable of withstanding hydrostatic pressure from the nearby water column, as well as sufficient ballast material to keep the chamber securely fastened to the seabed.

How does an ocean battery work?

Ocean Grazer, a Dutch firm, has invented an ocean battery that will allow renewable energy to be stored undersea.  This concept was revealed on January 2022 at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The Ocean Battery, according to the industry, will overcome the social issue of providing access to renewable energy production without compromising our attempts to fulfill climate goals.  With its undersea turbine power storage devices, this battery is hydropower in a container that gives an eco-friendly way to power storage with up to GWh scale.

The system is based on hydroelectric generator technology, which was demonstrated to be efficient and consistent for more than a hundred years.  Pouring water from stiff tanks into stretchy bladders on the bottom preserves energy which  is then stored as potential energy in the form of high-pressure water.

Water goes back from the flexible bladders to the low-pressure stiff storage when this energy is needed.  Multiple hydro turbines will be used to produce energy for big projects.  Additionally, offshore turbines, floating solar farms, and ocean-based devices will be installed in the area.

Is ocean energy already in use?

Ocean energy is one of the most important eco-friendly, and renewable energy sources that many countries currently use to avoid carbon fuels.  Of course, if implemented perfectly, ocean energy might fulfill the world’s annual electrical needs, according to scientists.

Ocean energy is now being developed in several countries, particularly Australia, China, Denmark, Italy, Korea, Portugal, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States. According to the US Energy Information Administration, ocean energy in the United States could produce 66 percent of the country’s electricity.

Companies working on ocean energy storage

Some of the world’s largest companies contributing to ocean energy storage are the following:

Ocean Renewable Power Company (ORPC, Inc.)

The Ocean Renewable Power Company (ORPC, Inc.) is a Portland, Maine-based ocean energy corporation that  builds systems that use tidal, river, and ocean currents to produce energy. ORPC had its start in 2004 when Paul Wells, a cruise liner industry executive, thought there was a method to produce electricity using ocean currents like the Gulf Stream. He partnered up with 2 additional co-founders, Christopher R. Sauer, a structural engineer, and a third fellow with a finance background.

RivGen Power System, ORPC’s first river energy project, was completed and operated in 2014, supplying power to the remote Alaskan community of Igiugig.

(ORPC RivGen 2.0 Power System)

Company Website:

Aquamarine Power Ltd

Aquamarine Power is an offshore energy storage firm that was created in 2005 to implement the Oyster wave energy converter, a wave power technology innovation.  The company is Scotland-based (Edinburgh) while it has many branches in other countries including  Orkney, Ireland, Northern Ireland, and the United States.  Trevor Whittaker, the developer of the Oyster idea, and Stephen Salter founded the company. The company is defunct now, but their story is still a tale of innovation for the greater good

(Aquamarine Oyster Wave Project)

Aquamarine Power was nominated for several awards.

  • The Ernst & Young Euromoney Global Renewable Energy Awards honored it Emerging Technology Booster of the Year in 2008.
  • The British Renewable Energy Association honored it Innovator of the Year in 2009.
  • It was also awarded with the Energy Innovation Award by Engineer Technology and Innovation Awards 2009.

Company Website:

Nova Innovations Ltd

Nova Innovation, launched in 2010 by Gary Connor and Simon Forrest, is committed to a sustainable future and a reduction in the use of carbon fuels for present and upcoming generations.

  • 2021 – Nova produces the world’s premier tide-powered electric vehicle (EV) charging station.
  • Nova extends the Shetland Tidal Array and receives new projects throughout Europe in 2020.
  • 2019 – Nova signed their Ist North American contract in Nova Scotia, Canada, to construct and manage 15 wind turbines.
  • Nova wins the European SME of the Year award in 2018.
  • 2016 — In Shetland, Nova installed the world’s largest marine tidal system. For more than six years, it has been supplying energy to households and utilities.

Company Website:

Atlantis Resources Ltd

Atlantis, founded in 2005, is a project developer, and energy production technology and services distributor to the ocean energy sector.  Following a transformative deal with SIMEC UK Energy Holdings Ltd, the firm has been trading as SIMEC Atlantis Energy since July 2018, and the new company is now concentrating on identifying and maintaining operational, cash-generating projects in the power industries.

SIMEC Atlantis has established a diverse portfolio of work throughout the years.  Its participation in big programs throughout the world undoubtedly holds vital strategic significance, like the MeyGen tidal power plant, which is presently approved for 86MW and has a maximum output of 398MW, is fully operated.

In 2017, Atlantis agreed to supply turbines, technical services, and components for a 150MW tidal energy complex in Lombok, Indonesia, under a key suppliers agreement with SBS International Ltd.  In economies such as Korea, China, the Philippines, and Australia, the company is displaying a high level of project building activities.

Company Website:


As we have seen, that the ocean may be an untapped resource for energy storage.  If we want to use renewable energy, we need a way to store excess electricity produced during windy or sunny spells. One solution is to use lithium batteries, but they’re expensive and difficult to recycle, hence, a cheaper alternative would be to store energy in the oceans themselves. There are four main ways this could be achieved: by using subsea storage tanks, underwater electricity cables, pumped hydro facilities, and offshore wind turbines. However, there are still quite a few technological hurdles that need to be overcome if this method of undersea energy storage is going to become mainstream. The seas, which cover 70% of the earth’s surface, are among the most prolific and beneficial clean energy and storage sources on the earth.  Their energy can be utilized and converted into electrical energy, which can power the entire world thrice over.

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