Aquamarine Power, MHK energy developer, falls into administration

Edinburgh, Scotland-based Aquamarine Power, a marine hydrokinetic (MHK) energy developer, announced on Oct. 28 that its Board of Directors has called in administrators to manage the business and to seek a sale or investment via the administration process.

BDO LLP business restructuring partners James Stephen and Graham Newton have been appointed joint administrators that will run operations and continue to trade the company as they seek to sell it.

All 14 employees are being retained.

After receiving US$10.8 million during a round of funding in 2011, Aquamarine Power began testing their full-scale Oyster MHK energy apparatus in 2012 at the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) in Orkney.

The company is involved in the pan-European WavePOD collaboration to deploy apparatus for its Oyster 800 wave technology. The Oyster units look much like a hinge, with one half anchored to the seabed and the other free to move in the current. The resulting motion is then converted into power.

Aquamarine was listed among the top five emergent wave energy companies after it was granted consent for a 40-MW wave energy farm off the northwest coast of Lewis, Scotland, in 2013. So far it has installed two full-scale Oysters at EMEC.

The company’s prototype WavePOD was scheduled for sea wave condition testing at EMEC on the Oyster 800 machine, in 2016. The WavePod device comprises an offshore hydraulic generator housed in a sealed nacelle that generates electrical power that is then cabled back to shore, according to the company.

In a press release, Aquamarine Power Chief Executive Officer Paddy O’Kane said, “The team at Aquamarine Power has worked tirelessly over many years to design, build and demonstrate Oyster wave energy machines. During this time we have achieved a number of major milestones that have put our technology at the forefront of the industry.

“Oyster is the only wave technology to have proven it can operate in all ocean conditions and we have superb understanding of how well Oyster captures energy at sea. However, today’s news underscores the financial as well as technical challenge in bringing an entirely new form of energy generation to commercialization. New private sector funding is required now to deliver our technology roadmap.”

The European Commission awarded Aquamarine Power first prize in the product category of its European Business Awards for the Environment in 2013 for the company’s Oyster wave technology.
 

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Gregory B. Poindexter formerly was an associate editor for HydroWorld.com.

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