Scotland business

Aquamarine Power boosted by European Union grant

Oyster 800 Image copyright Aquamarine Power
Image caption Aquamarine Power has already built and run two full-scale Oysters at the European Marine Energy Centre in Orkney

Aquamarine Power has been boosted by a £580,000 grant from the European Union to help it accelerate the development of commercial wave energy technology.

The Edinburgh firm will work with the National University of Ireland, Maynooth (NUIM), after both were awarded the EU Horizon 2020 grant.

They aim to improve Aquamarine's Oyster wave energy converter.

The company has already built and run two full-scale Oysters at the European Marine Energy Centre in Orkney.

The new Brussels-backed programme, called Innowave, will enable three PhD researchers to explore ways to optimise the energy capture and economic performance of Oyster.

As part of the three-year programme, the researchers will split their time between Aquamarine and NUIM's Centre for Ocean Energy Research in County Kildare.

One project will look at all aspects of the Oyster design from an economic perspective.

The other two will look at the development and implementation of control systems applicable to shore-based and offshore power take-off systems.

'Significantly advanced'

Aquamarine Power chief executive Paddy O'Kane said: "Aquamarine Power's aim is to become the world's leading supplier of utility-scale wave farm power stations.

"With the survivability and performance potential of our Oyster wave technology now largely proven following four years of continuous deployment at the European Marine Energy Centre in Orkney, we are significantly advanced towards that goal.

"This collaboration with NUIM will now help us focus on driving down costs and further improving performance."

Lindsay Roberts, senior policy manager for industry body Scottish Renewables, said: "Scotland leads the world in the development of wave energy devices, and it's fantastic to see that the European Union's commitment to the technology remains strong.

"Aquamarine Power's Oyster has generated some great results from its testing to date, and further work on power take-off will help ensure that it remains on course for commercialisation."

'Exceptional results'

In March, Aquamarine claimed "exceptional results" following lengthy sea trials of its Oyster 800 wave machine.

It said operational data verified that the Oyster generated power as predicted in wave tank and numerical tests.

The tests, conducted last year, included operating during major storms with waves of up to 8m.

In July, Wave Energy Scotland said it would provide £2m in funding to Aquamarine Power, Bosch Rexroth and Carnegie Wave Energy to further develop a reliable Power Take Off (PTO) system, known as WavePOD.

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