Established in 2005, Edinburgh-based Aquamarine Power is developing Oyster wave power technology to capture energy found in nearshore waves and convert it into clean sustainable electricity.
The Oyster concept is an oscillating wave surge converter: a buoyant, hinged flap which is attached to the seabed at around ten metres depth, around half a kilometre from shore. This flap, which is almost entirely underwater, moves backwards and forwards in the nearshore waves. The movement of the flap drives two hydraulic pistons which push high pressure water onshore to drive a conventional hydroelectric turbine.
Oyster has been designed to be deployed in wave farms consisting of multiple machines connected to one onshore hydroelectric power station. As the technology progresses, future Oysters may incorporate offshore generation via a sealed power generation unit.
To date, Aquamarine Power has deployed and tested two full-scale Oyster devices at EMEC: the 315kW Oyster 1 and the second-generation 800kW Oyster 800, spending in excess of £3m in Orkney and working with over 40 local businesses.
Oyster 800 was grid-connected in June 2012 and is currently undergoing operational testing at EMEC’s Billia Croo test site.
The Oyster 800 test programme will come to an end in 2015. Aquamarine Power is now focussed on the development of the next-generation Oyster in parallel with critical sub-systems such as WavePOD, a pan-industry power take off system which is being developed in partnership with Bosch Rexroth and Carnegie Wave Energy.
Aquamarine Power has also secured all consents required for their first commercial 40MW Oyster wave farm off the north-west coast of Lewis in Scotland. They are also developing a proposed 200MW Oyster wave farm off the coast of Orkney as a joint venture partnership with SSE Renewables.