Edinburgh-based Aquamarine Power has successfully completed the first round of its £10m fundraising to advance the commercialisation of its Oyster wave energy converter.
The company’s Oyster device harnesses energy from the passing action of ocean waves and converts it to usable electricity. This is done using the group’s Oscillator technology, which pumps high-pressure water into a subsea pipeline and converts it to electrical power using hydro-electric generators.
Each Oyster device has a peak power of 300-600kW and a farm of 20 devices is expected to generate enough electricity to power 9,000 homes. Aquamarine has a total funding requirement of around £50m to commercialise its technology.
The group has already secured an agreement with Airtricity, the renewable energy division of Scottish and Southern Energy, to deploy Oyster technology in the development of up to 1GW of marine energy sites by 2020. A second fundraising round is due to commence shortly and the group said that it expects to have a fully commissioned commercially available wave farm in place by 2014.
Martin McAdam, chief executive of Aquamarine Power, said: ‘Raising substantial funds in these exceptionally difficult market conditions is an incredible achievement for Aquamarine.
‘It proves that there is considerable investor appetite for renewable energy companies. Aquamarine has a great team in place with the technological and commercial know-how to take Oyster all the way through to the finishing line.
‘There will be winners and losers along the way as technologies compete for market share and Oyster has all the right ingredients to be one of the winners – an amazing piece of UK engineering that is one of the best wave devices out there.’
The successful first phase of funding follows Aquamarine’s announcement last month that a full-scale demonstrator of Oyster was deployed at the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) in Orkney.
Aquamarine is expected to begin full-scale offshore testing of Oyster later this year and is currently working on connecting an Oyster device to subsea pipelines that will provide high-pressure fresh water to an onshore turbine.
According to the group, Scotland accounts for 25 per cent of Europe’s tidal resource and 10 per cent of Europe’s wave resource. It is estimated that 21.5GW of wave and tidal energy could be generated from Scottish waters, which would be enough to meet around half of Scotland’s energy needs.