Aquamarine Power`s next-generation Oyster 800 unveiled



The UK's leadership in the development of wave-generated power continued apace today as wave energy developer Aquamarine Power unveilled the Oyster 800, the company's next-generation hydro-electric wave energy converter.

At a ceremony at Burntisland Fabrications' yard at Methil, Fife, the First Minister welcomed the advancements in wave energy conversion being made by Aquamarine Power and unveiled the 800kW device.

It will now be transported by sea from the Firth of Forth to the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) in Orkney for installation later this summer.

Aquamarine Power installed and grid-connected its first full-scale 315kW Oyster at EMEC in 2009.  This first device operated through two winters and delivered over 6000 operating hours.

Improved power output

The Oyster 800 operates in the same way as Oyster 1, but Aquamarine Power has used data and lessons learned from the first Oyster to significantly improve its power output, simplify installation and allow easier routine maintenance.

The device shape has been modified and made wider to enable it to capture more wave energy. It is now mounted on two seabed piles, rather than four to simplify installation. Oyster 800 has also been designed to make maintenance and operations easier and more cost effective.

The device was manufactured by Burntisland Fabrications at its Methil and Arnish yards.

The Oyster 800 will be the first of three devices to be installed at EMEC, with further Oysters to be deployed in 2012 and 2013. All three Oysters will be linked to an onshore hydro-electric plant to form a 2.4MW array.

'Today is a significant day for Aquamarine Power and for Scotland's wider offshore renewables sector, which continues to develop a wide range of low carbon energy technologies to enable us to fully harness the huge energy resources around our own coast and contribute to global efforts to expand clean, green electricity generation,' said Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond

'Our goal is to make future Oysters cost competitive within the next few years.  The Oyster 800 will help us gather the data that we need to deliver on that,' said Martin McAdam, Chief Executive Officer of Aquamarine Power.

Power for 15,000 homes

A farm of just 20 Oyster 800 devices would generate sufficient power for 15,000 homes. There are often waves when there is no wind and marine energy offers an essential part of Scotland's future low carbon energy mix.

The installation of the Oyster 800 will see the device being fixed to the seabed around 500 metres from the shore.  This will be followed by a commissioning process which will see it connected to an onshore hydro-electric generator via subsea pipelines.

Over 68,000 jobs

Wave and tidal stream could provide a fifth of the UK's electricity needs and be a major 'made in Britain' clean energy success story.  Recent analysis has found that the best marine energy sites could be cost competitive with nuclear and onshore wind by 2025.

The wave and tidal sector could generate up to £76bn to the UK economy by 2050, and could also generate over 68,000 UK jobs.

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