Marine Energy – harnessing the power of the sea

WaveGen also intended to develop the SeWave project, located at Nípanin in the Faroe Islands, in collaboration with SEV, the Faroe Islands power company. It was also the developer of the Siadar Wave Energy Project in cooperation with Npower Renewables (now RWE Innogy), but this had to be cancelled in 2012 when Npower Renewables withdrew.

Ocean Energy Ltd buoy [Image Source: National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL)]

Aquamarine Power was founded in 2001 following research conducted by Professor Trevor Whittaker’s development team at Queen’s University in Belfast, Northern Ireland with regard to the potential of flap-type wave power devices to reduce energy costs. This resulted in the development of the Oyster wave energy device which in turn attracted the interest of Allan Thompson who funded further research and development work on Oyster. Thompson subsequently set up Aquamarine Power in order to bring the device to the commercial market. In 2007, the new company managed to secure an investment of £6.3 million from Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE), as well as further investment of £1.5 million from the Sigma Capital Group. This enabled it to advance Oyster from scale model testing to full-scale sea trials. The first full-scale prototype was completed in 2008 and installed at the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) in Orkney in 2009. It was at EMEC that Oyster 1, as it was known, first began to produce power for the grid. ABB became a shareholder in 2010 and the company installed a next-generation device, Oyster 800, at EMEC in 2011. This device is still undergoing operational testing, but it has been demonstrated at EMEC for over three years during which it has survived some of the largest storms of the decade.

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