£3m fund­ing for 10 wave en­ergy projects

The Oban Times - - Business -

TEN WAVE en­ergy devel­op­ment projects have been awarded a to­tal of £ 3 mil­lion by Wave En­ergy Scot­land.

The projects, de­vised by in­di­vid­ual com­pa­nies and part­ner­ships, will ex­plore the po­ten­tial of dif­fer­ent ma­te­ri­als and pro­cesses in the pro­duc­tion of wave en­ergy con­vert­ers ( WECs) – de­vices that con­vert ocean waves into elec­tric­ity.

Cur­rently, these de­vices are pre­dom­i­nantly made from steel, which is strong and durable but costly and sus­cep­ti­ble to cor­ro­sion.

Al­ter­na­tive ma­te­ri­als have not yet been suf­fi­ciently in­ves­ti­gated for their longevity in harsh ma­rine con­di­tions. Find­ing a ma­te­rial that works well in the sea and is cheaper to pro­duce will in­crease com­mer­cial vi­a­bil­ity of con­vert­ers.

The WES-funded Struc­tural Ma­te­ri­als and Man­u­fac­tur­ing Process (SMMP) projects will in­ves­ti­gate the use of ma­te­ri­als such as rub­bers, plas­tics, con­crete or com­bi­na­tions of these to build wave en­ergy con­vert­ers, and then test how well they sur­vive in dif­fer­ent sea con­di­tions.

This lat­est an­nounce­ment from WES brings the to­tal in­vest­ment by the or­gan­i­sa­tion in wave en­ergy devel­op­ment to £15 mil­lion across 51 projects in less than two years.

Scot­land’s min­is­ter for Busi­ness, In­no­va­tion and En­ergy Paul Wheel­house said: ‘Con­tin­ued in­no­va­tion is vi­tal in emerg­ing re­new­able tech­nolo­gies such as wave en­ergy. This fund­ing could re­sult in longer last­ing wave con­vert­ers that are bet­ter able to har­ness the power of the sea and more ef­fi­ciently turn it into re­new­able en­ergy.

‘ Wave en­ergy has great po­ten­tial to con­tribute to Scot­land’s en­ergy sup­ply and that of the UK and EU, and I am aware of the strong in­ter­est in the tech­nol­ogy in in­ter­na­tional mar­kets be­yond the EU too. If we are able to max­imise the eco­nomic po­ten­tial of this im­por­tant en­ergy re­source, there are great op­por­tu­ni­ties to gen­er­ate ex­ports to the rest of the world where Scot­land is, rightly, seen as be­ing at the fore­front of the devel­op­ment of the sec­tor.

‘I would like to con­grat­u­late the suc­cess­ful ap­pli­cants and look for­ward, along­side the team of Wave En­ergy Scot­land, to see­ing the re­sults of their on­go­ing work.’

Tim Hurst, man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of Wave En­ergy Scot­land, added: ‘We were de­lighted with the huge re­sponse to our call for SMMP projects, with many new or­gan­i­sa­tions sub­mit­ting ap­pli­ca­tions. The suc­cess­ful projects present a su­perb op­por­tu­nity to bring fur­ther skills and ex­pe­ri­ence that can be shared with oth­ers in the WES pro­grammes and make fur­ther progress to­wards com­mer­cial­is­ing the wave en­ergy sec­tor.’

Wave En­ergy Scot­land was set up as a sub­sidiary of High­lands and Is­lands En­ter­prise in De­cem­ber 2014 and is fully funded by the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment. The or­gan­i­sa­tion is seen as a fresh ap­proach to tack­ling the is­sues which have proved chal­leng­ing in the wave en­ergy sec­tor.

De­tails of the 10 suc­cess­ful SMMP projects are avail­able at www. hie.co.uk/growth- sec­tors/ en­ergy/ wave- en­ergy- scot­land/ project- calls.html

Paul Wheel­house MSP.

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