Wave power plant up­grades af­ter good start

The Herald Business - - News Digest -

ORKNEY’S marine power gen­er­a­tor Oys­ter 800 has had a “promis­ing” start, pro­duc­ing some world-beat­ing re­sults.

The plant, at the Euro­pean Marine En­ergy Cen­tre, was in­stalled in Fe­bru­ary and will be up­graded over the sum­mer. Last week chief ex­ec­u­tive of Aqua­ma­rine Power, Martin McA­dam said: “The con­cept works. The Oys­ter 800 struc­ture has per­formed well in the most ar­du­ous storm con­di­tions.

“We are now start­ing to see some very promis­ing power pro­duc­tion fig­ures – in­clud­ing sus­tained gen­er­a­tion of 1M Whin a five-hour pe­riod.” That fig­ure is thought to be the high­est sus­tained power out­put of any wave en­ergy ma­chine in the world.

Re­sults re­leased by the com­pany also show that the gen­er­a­tor coped with waves of up to nine me­tres.

“We have learned a tremen­dous amount about how Oys­ter op­er­ates in real sea con­di­tions,” said Mr McA­dam. The Oys­ter will now be shut down in or­der to make im­prove- ments. Many com­po­nents had been less re­li­able than hoped in the hos­tile en­vi­ron­ment and only one of the two power pro­duc­tion cylin­ders had been op­er­at­ing. Work will take place on sev­eral key ele­ments of the gen­er­a­tor in a bid to im­prove the near-shore wave tech­nol­ogy.

Mr McA­dam added: “We be­lieve this is the best and most cost-ef­fec­tive way of us­ing what we have learned so far to im­prove the Oys­ter 800’s per­for­mance and re­li­a­bil­ity. Our goal is to have the Oys­ter 800 op­er­at­ing with in­creased re­li­a­bil­ity through the com­ing win­ter.

“The Oys­ter con­cept is now proven. I’d like to thank our in­vestors for their sup­port and pa­tience and the team at Aqua­ma­rine Power for their com­mit­ment and en­durance. Our fo­cus is now on im­prov­ing the re­li­a­bil­ity, per­for­mance and re­duc­ing the cost of the tech­nol­ogy. Our ul­ti­mate goal is an in­dus­try in Scot­land pro­duc­ing com­mer­cially com­pet­i­tive wave en­ergy ma­chines in the years ahead.”

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