Wave of success

Aquamarine Power has announced positive test results from its Oyster wave energy converter, prompting the company’s chief executive to declare the success ‘the birth of an industry’.

Tests on Aquamarine Power’s Oyster wave energy converter have shown that the device can deliver electricity on a commercial scale after it produced and exported electricity to the grid.

The trials, which began in March and are scheduled to finish by the end of April, took place at the New and Renewable Energy Centre (NaREC), a facility in north-east England that acts as a testing platform for renewable energy technologies.

The output from a single pumping cylinder delivered more than 170kW of electricity. According to Aquamarine, a full-scale device, with two pumping cylinders, would be able to deliver in excess of the modelled output of 350kW.

Installation of the full-scale machine at the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) in Orkney is scheduled for this summer. Aquamarine already has an agreement with Airtricity, the renewable energy division of Scottish and Southern Energy, to develop sites capable of hosting 1,000MW of marine energy by 2020 suitable for deployment of Oyster.

Martin McAdam, chief executive of Aquamarine, said: ‘Oyster is revolutionary in its field and what we are seeing is total proof that it can deliver commercially viable electricity.

‘Making this happen involved an array of companies and partners including Frazer Nash, who designed the rig; Howco, who built it; Pelamis, who hired out one of its hydraulic power packs; and NaREC, who hosted the test. If the UK or Scotland wants a marine industry, we have proven that the companies and people are there to deliver it. This is the birth of an industry.’