Solar system at sea

Ocean Sun: Patent rights are important for entering into license agreements

Ocean Sun develops solutions for liquid solar energy. With the help of patent rights, they can enter into license agreements with partners who produce the products and make sure they get them into the big markets.

Ocean Sun was established in 2016 by Børge Bjørneklett, Øyvind Rohn and Arnt Emil Ingulstad. The company is based on an invention made by Bjørneklett. Ocean Sun has further developed the invention and offers an efficient, affordable and durable solution for liquid solar energy. It consists of modified solar cell modules that are installed on a flexible, liquid membrane.

The technology makes it possible to have a lower cell temperature through direct thermal contact with the water through the membrane. Systems can thus be built with low investment costs and with the best energy yield in the industry. All the parts in the solution are also made from environmentally friendly materials that give a minimal CO2 footprint.

Since 2016, Ocean Sun has done extensive research and experimentation in the pool laboratory to test and further develop the technology. They have also built test systems for large waves and tough sea conditions both in Western Norway, in the Johur Strait in Singapore and the Magat Dam in the north of the Philippines. The testing has gone excellently, and the technology shows over 10% higher energy yield with the water-cooled solar cells.

They are also in the process of building a full-scale demonstration plant consisting of four large rings for Statkraft in Albania. In addition, Ocean Sun has been awarded a contract for the construction of a facility on the coast in China.

– The market for liquid solar is growing strongly worldwide, and thus there is also great competition to develop the best technology. We have patented our technology, and use the patents actively to enter into license agreements with developers of power plants, as well as to avoid copying. The license income provides the opportunity to further develop the technology so that we always have the best system.

Børge Bjørneklett Founder & CEO Ocean Sun

Børge Bjørneklett

Founder & CEO Ocean Sun

Patents essential for cooperation agreements and to prevent copying

Ocean Sun AS has an IPR portfolio with a number of patents and patent applications in all the most important markets. The Norwegian priority application has been notified (Norwegian patent 343405), and the company has several European applications pending. They also have a European design registration for the system. In addition, they have registered the logo as a trademark.

Founder and CEO Børge Bjørneklett has experience as an inventor, and wrote the first patent application himself, which he later transferred to Ocean Sun. Since then, they have received assistance from the proxy office Zacco to continue and extend the rights.

The patent rights are crucial in order to be able to enter into the necessary agreements with partners who will produce the products and ensure that they are introduced to the large markets.

They have recently experienced increasing activity from other players around similar solutions, and in some cases copying the technology. This is actively followed up through the submission of Norwegian patent claims to the Norwegian Industrial Property Office in order to obtain provisional protection in Norway for European applications under processing, and with the enforcement of rights when a patent has been granted.

Licensing agreements provide rapid growth

Ocean Sun does not have the capital or resources to build floating solar power plants worldwide. In order to quickly enter more markets, they have license agreements with power suppliers or EPC companies (Engineering, Procurement and Contracting). They collaborate with these industrial partners on all necessary components in the customer projects. Ocean Sun offers license agreements where developers and independent power producers are allowed to use their patents for their own projects. In this way, they can realize solutions for the floating solar industry that provide the most energy possible at the lowest possible costs, so-called levelized cost of energy (LCOE).

Ocean Sun does not produce components itself, but can assist in all phases of the projects. Their technical staff have expertise in all phases of the product development cycle, and customers have access to a broad portfolio of research, numerical modeling results, 3D models, material specifications and design guidelines. It includes idea development, user insight, product development, analysis, product testing, volume production, installation, operation and maintenance.

Support schemes and research collaboration

Innovation Norway and the Research Council of Norway support Ocean Sun. The company was listed on the stock exchange in 2020 and also works closely with universities, research institutes and consultants. Børge Bjørneklett emphasizes that IPR is very important for a company engaged in technology development: "Long-term investors in such companies can lose all their value if inventions and results can be easily copied by competitors. In research projects where the company outsources specific research tasks to institutes and universities, it is important to agree how the results are to be used commercially. At the Research Council, this is regulated in IPN, Innovation Project in Business".

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