Pelamis Wave Power
Founded in 1998, Edinburgh-based Pelamis Wave Power (PWP) manufactured and operated Pelamis wave energy converters.
Three Pelamis devices were tested at EMEC’s Billia Croo wave test site.
In 2004, Pelamis Wave Power demonstrated its first full-scale prototype, the P1, at EMEC’s wave test site at Billia Croo. The device was 120m long, 3.5m in diameter and comprised four tube sections.
Here, the P1 became the world’s first offshore wave power converter to successfully generate electricity into a national grid. It was tested at EMEC until 2007.
The findings from Pelamis P1 testing at EMEC led to the development of its 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 750 kW P2 machine was 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 took ownership of its assets and IP. The P2-001 was dismantled. The P2-002 machine remains in Orkney and is now owned by Orkney Islands Council. Knowledge capture and lessons learnt have been published on the WES Knowledge Capture Library and shared with wave energy technologies that have followed in Pelamis Wave Power’s wake.