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Pelamis Wave Power

Founded in 1998, Edinburgh-based Pelamis Wave Power (PWP) manufactures and operates Pelamis wave energy converters.

In 2004, Pelamis Wave Power demonstrated their first full-scale prototype, the P1, at EMEC’s wave test site at Billia Croo. Here, the P1 became the world’s first offshore wave power converter to successfully generate electricity into a national grid. The device was 120m long, 3.5m in diameter and comprised four tube sections.

The findings from Pelamis’ testing at EMEC between 2004 – 2007 led to the development of their second generation device – the P2. The P2 comprises five connected sections which flex and bend in the waves. This movement is harnessed by hydraulic rams at the joints which in turn drive electrical generators located inside the device. The device is 180m long, four metres in diameter and weighs approximately 1,350 tonnes.

The first P2 machine, P2-001, was ordered by E.ON UK in 2009: the world’s first wave power machine to be purchased by a utility company. Arriving in Orkney in July 2010, the 750kW P2 Machine was successfully installed at the Billia Croo wave test site for the first time in October 2010. Following a three-year testing programme, the P2-001 has now returned to the ownership of Pelamis Wave Power, for continued demonstration alongside the ScottishPower Renewables owned P2-002.

The testing or ‘work-up’ programme deployed by Pelamis is structured through a series of weather states, each with progressively higher wave heights. The P2 will be tested over a defined period of time in each state before graduating to the next. This approach allows progressive management of risk for the technology and the ability to find and handle any unexpected technical issues as they arise. Inspection and maintenance work is carried out at Lyness, where the machine is located when not at the wave test site, ready for redeployment in suitable weather windows.

Unfortunately, Pelamis went into administration in November 2014, and Wave Energy Scotland now owns their assets and IP. The P2-001 has been dismantled.

The P2-002 machine remains in Orkney and is now owned by EMEC. For further information, see: EMEC seeks feedback from industry for P2-002

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