Aquamarine places wave energy converter on ocean floor

Off the north coast of Scotland in waters 10 to 12 meters deep, ocean energy developer Aquamarine Power Ltd. has bolted its Oyster wave energy converter to the ocean floor and expects to be generating power by year’s end.

A team of offshore professionals eased the 194-ton converter into the sea at the European Marine Energy Center in the Orkney Islands.

“Getting Oyster into the water and connected to the seabed was always going to be the most difficult step,” said Aquamarine CEO Martin McAdam. “Its completion is a real credit to everyone who has worked hard on planning and executing this major engineering feat on schedule.”

The Oyster unit is designed to capture energy from near-shore waves. The system includes an oscillating pump fitted with double-acting water pistons. Each wave activates the pump, delivering high-pressure water by pipeline to an onshore turbine that generates electricity.

All electrical components of Oyster are onshore, making it durable enough to withstand Scotland’s rough seas, McAdam said.

In April 2009, Aquamarine halted development of its Neptune tidal stream generator to focus solely on Oyster. Marine constructor Fugro Seacore installed the Oyster converter under a $2.9 million contract. (HydroWorld 4/6/09)

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