BAE Systems and Aquamarine Power are working on a 30-month research, development and demonstration project to enable large-scale commercial production of Aquamarine’s Oyster wave energy converter.
The Technology Strategy Board awarded a £450,000 grant to the project, which the partners match-funded.
The Oyster device – a buoyant hinged flap – attaches to the seabed and moves backwards and forwards in the nearshore waves, pumping high-pressure water onshore to drive a hydro-electric turbine, which then generates electricity for the National Grid.
Under the partnership, engineers at BAE Systems will work with Aquamarine Power to develop an intelligent diagnostic system and remote ballasting mechanism.
These innovations are expected to drive down maintenance costs and help to maximise energy production, paving the way for this technology to be rolled out on a commercial scale.
Aquamarine Power’s Oyster technology is designed to be installed at around a 10m depth, 0.5km from shore.
Edinburgh-based Aquamarine Power has already installed and tested its Oyster 1 demonstration device at the European Marine Energy Centre in Orkney, Scotland, where it generates electricity that is transmitted to the National Grid to power homes in the local area.
It is estimated that a farm of 20 next-generation Oyster 2 devices will generate enough energy to power more than 12,000 homes.
Aquamarine Power closed a £6m funding round this year and has subsequently been awarded more than £3m from the Scottish Government WATERS fund (Wave and Tidal Energy: Research, Development and Demonstration Support).
The company is actively seeking a major investment partner and a strategic technology partner to take the Oyster device through to commercialisation.
Click here to read about the evolution of Oyster.