A trial of a 200kW wave energy device has attracted $4 million in funding form the Australian Renewable Energy Agency.

The funding is part of a $12.3 million pilot by Wave Swell Energy to test its UniWave 200 wave energy converter off the coast of King Island, Tasmania.

The device will be partially submerged as it sits on the seabed and has an opening on one side to allow the movement of the waves in and out of the chamber.

Water rises and falls inside the chamber, causing the pressure of the air trapped above to change between negative and positive pressure. The pressure fluctuations force air to pass through a turbine at the top of the chamber, generating electricity.

“Wave energy has the potential to be integrated into microgrids, particularly on island locations with limited space, to reduce the need for significant battery storage due to the relative predictability and consistency of wave energy,” said ARENA CEO Darren Miller.

Wave Swell Energy CEO Dr Tom Denniss said the project is aimed at demonstrating the commercial viability of the technology and is expected to be the first of many.

“ARENA’s role in the King Island project represents a vital component of the ultimate commercialisation of the technology,” Dr Denniss said.

The project will also be integrated with the King Island microgrid operated by Hydro Tasmania, which received $6 million in ARENA funding in 2011 to demonstrate the integration of several renewable resources and energy management technologies.