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Protean Wave Energy to make a splash with undersea technology

Protean Wave Energy (ASX:POW), formerly Stonehenge Metals (ASX:SHE), should attract significant investment interest with the acquisition of a patented wave power technology that is designed to convert ocean waves to electricity.

The acquisition will see the company emerge as a renewable energy company on the ASX.

The Protean™ Wave Technology design has been over 10 years in development and comprises a small, durable ocean buoy that is tethered to a weight on the ocean floor.

The design concept utilises a group of buoys, connected and packed closely together to form an array. Multiple arrays can then be combined to form a wave farm.

The West Australian based company behind the patented Protean™ WEC device recently successfully tested the floating buoy technology 100 meters off the coast of Coogee Beach (south of Fremantle WA).

The one buoy used in the initial testing generated compressed air to drive a pneumatic motor that in turn droves an electrical generator.

The technology is uniquely designed to optimise the conversion of energy from waves through all six degrees of wave movement or motion.

With this proof of concept, Protean Wave is now seeking to raise $2,500,000 from a prospectus issue and may take oversubscriptions of up to a further $2,500,000, to accelerate the development and commercialisation of the Protean™ WEC Technology.

The company has already funded the fabrication and deployment of a 30 buoy demonstration wave farm off Bunbury, Western Australia. This demonstration wave farm is currently under construction and is expected to be deployed during early 2016 prior to moving the technology into early commercialisation.

The trial will see 30 floating buoys tethered closely together and anchored by weights that will be filled with water and dropped on the sea floor. These weights can be quickly re-floated remotely using compressed air.

The buoys will move with the wave action to create compressed air that can then be converted to power.

While Bunbury is set to be the test site and ability to supply power to the Bunbury port could be an objective, the major initial target market for the Protean Wave technology is undoubtedly the 65 small island nations in the world that use a significant amount of electricity, most which is generated from diesel.

The investment case and demand for the Protean technology becomes compelling especially for these island nations given their dependence upon importing expensive diesel for their power generation and their abundance of waves that don't go away or stop when the wind stops blowing in the case of wind farm turbines or when the sun stops shining in the case of solar PV farms.

After the 30 buoy demonstration wave farm proves its case to generate significant kilowatts of power over a day, Protean Wave may then seek to place a larger farm near a port, or deploy them in these island communities where there are abundant wave resources.

The buoys would generate the power either for specific customers or for the local grid. With enough buoys and waves around the buoys, the technology could potentially match the power produced through diesel generation.

The technology is designed to scale and aims for deployments of 50 to 500kW to 2 megawatt installation. For example, 250kW might be around 150-200 buoys depending on the available wave resource.

Interestingly, while the Protean system has been designed for production of electricity it can also desalinate seawater to drinking water quality.

The device could pump water either directly from the devices or using a compressed air driven pump, which can drive a reverse osmosis desalination unit.

About the Protean™ Wave Energy Converter Technology

The WEC Technology is based upon a patented and patent pending intellectual property invented by Sean Moore.

The Protean™ WEC system is based upon a point-absorber wave energy converter buoy device which floats at the water surface and converts energy from the waves by the extension and retraction of a tether to its anchoring weight on the sea bed.

Its ability to optimise the conversion of energy from waves through all six degrees of wave movement or motion is unique.

Protean Wave has granted and pending patents based on the design in a significant number of jurisdictions around the globe.

The Protean system is designed to provide low cost energy for a wide range of applications, from small to large scale production.

The technology is designed from the ground up to provide cost effective, consistent and reliable renewable energy in a range of wave energy resource locations.

Advantages over other wave technologies

The Protean™ WEC technology design may have a number of significant potential advantages over other wave energy technologies currently being investigated internationally.

These potential advantages are the WEC Technology's small scale, its modularity and capacity to harness energy from all six available directional wave forces (being: heave (up-down), surge (back-and forth), sway (side-to-side), yaw, pitch and roll).

Other wave energy systems typically use fewer degrees of movement, which can reduce their productivity.

South Korean uranium & vanadium exploration assets

The company will comply with its contractual obligations in respect of it 50% owned JV projects in South Korea.

In respect of the joint venture, the estimate of the actual cost will be no more than $600,000 which is to be funded from $300,000 of funds raised under the prospectus plus $300,000 from the JV partner (KORID) Placements.

At a later date, these assets could be farmed out of sold.

Analysis

The Protean technology appears a compelling one as is the potential to address (small island nations) markets where the cost of importing diesel for power generation and electricity is significant.

The abundance of waves that keep rolling around these islands relative to wind farm or solar PV technology when wind stops blowing or the sun stops shining, provides a platform to prove the Protean technology as a consistent power source to generate cost effective electricity and water for these islands.

With capital raised from the current raising set to leverage the already funded deployment of a 30 buoy demonstration wave farm off Bunbury, this would quickly move Protean Wave technology along way down the road to early commercialisation.

The already funded 30 buoy wave farm will test and verify the design features targeted and to provide data with which to conduct initial economic analysis and project feasibility modelling.

If this is successful, commercialisation of the Protean™ WEC technology for small island nations could begin rapidly with Hanimaadhoo Island in the Maldives where the company already has an agreement in place to deploy a commercial pilot wave farm.

The transition to renewable energy company offers a new life in the rapidly growing renewable energy market for current Stonehenge shareholders, a larger market capitalisation and enhanced shareholder base should provide more liquidity than the stock currently has.

The raising at $0.025 looks set to be attractively priced with a free option and potentially offers one of the more attractive commercialisation models for companies transitioning away from the resources sector.

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