Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Scottish power company Aquamarine Power Systems, unveiled their next-generation Oyster 800 hydro-electric wave energy converter last week. Scottish First Minister, Alex Salmond marked the launch of the device, which is set to be installed at the European Marine Centre (EMEC) in Orkney later in the summer.

The Oyster 800 developed by some very cleaver Aquamarine engineers, features a whole range of ABB products, including, transformers, generators, power converters, control and instrumentation, helping the Oyster 800 generate a massive 800 kw of electricity from a single unit.  

My organisation, originally gained interested in the company and its technology, after the development of Aquamarine Power’s first, full-scale 315 kW Oyster.

Since Aquamarine installed and grid-connected the Oyster at EMEC in 2009, my organisation has invested about $13 million in the company to help develop their technology and bring their product to market. Since 2009 the Oyster has operated successfully through two winters, delivering over 6000 operating hours; extremely impressive for a first, full-scale trial.

Alex Salmond, says: “Aquamarine Power has made huge progress in less than two years since its first Oyster device was connected to the grid at EMEC – proving the technology and driving down costs – a testament to the vision, commitment and expertise throughout the company.

We all know that renewable energy is set to play a significant part in the future of energy production globally, so it is important that companies such as Aquamarine Power receive necessary funding to develop their technology. I am pleased ABB is providing Aquamarine with the support they deserve and I know they will be given access to our technical research, engineering expertise and global supply chain network.

Dr Stephen Wyatt, Head of Technology Acceleration at The Carbon Trust, says “Wave and tidal stream could provide a fifth of our electricity needs and be a major ‘made in Britain’ success.  Our new analysis has found that the best marine energy sites could be cost competitive with nuclear and onshore wind by 2025. The wave and tidal sector could generate up to £76bn to the UK economy by 2050, and could also generate over 68,000 UK jobs.  

Aquamarine says it will deploy another two Oyster wave power devices at EMEC in 2012 and 2013, bringing the total capacity to 2.4 MW. Let’s hope it’s the start of many more being rolled out across the globe.


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