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Pelamis Wave Power

Founded in 1998, Edinburgh-based Pelamis Wave Power (PWP) manufactured and operated 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 comprised five connected sections which flex and bend in the waves. This movement was harnessed by hydraulic rams at the joints which in turn drove electrical generators located inside the device. The device measured 180m long, four metres in diameter and was 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 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 was structured through a series of weather states, each with progressively higher wave heights. This approach allowed progressive management of risk for the technology and the ability to find and handle any unexpected technical issues as they arised. Inspection and maintenance work was carried out at Lyness, where the machine was located when not at the wave test site.

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 Orkney Islands Council: http://www.emec.org.uk/press-release-council-takes-ownership-of-pelamis-device/

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