Oyster installed at energy centre

Aquamarine Power recently completed the first phase of installation of its Oyster device at the European Marine Energy Centre in Orkney.

Aquamarine Power recently completed the first phase of installation of its Oyster device at the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) in Orkney.

The 194-tonne device was lowered onto a seabed subframe and bolted in place at the EMEC. The next phase of the project will be to connect it to subsea pipelines that provide high-pressure freshwater to an onshore turbine, ahead of grid connection and sea trials later this year.

In operation, the Oyster’s oscillator is fitted with pistons fixed to the nearshore bed. Waves activate the oscillator, pumping high-pressure water through a subsea pipeline to the shore. Onshore, conventional hydro-electric generators convert this high-pressure water into electrical power.

Martin McAdam, chief executive of Aquamarine Power, said: ‘Getting Oyster into the water and connected to the seabed was always going to be the most difficult step and its completion is a real credit to everyone who has worked hard on planning and executing this major engineering feat on schedule and without any complications.’

The system has been developed to capture energy from nearshore waves up to depths of 10m to 12m. According to the company, a farm of 20 devices will generate 10MW of energy, which is claimed to be enough power for around 6,500 homes.

A total of 15 different companies worked with Aquamarine to successfully complete the first phase of the project. Once Oyster is fully installed, it will be the UK’s first nearshore wave energy converter.

McAdam said: ‘Completion of this milestone is a giant leap for the company and for the marine energy industry in general. There will obviously be challenges ahead but we are now working on connecting the device to the grid ahead of offshore testing.

‘Generating electricity, however, will be the ultimate test and we are confident we will deliver power to the national grid by the end of the year,’ he added.