U.K.’s Wave Hub names Orecon Ltd. to replace Oceanlinx

South West of England Regional Development Agency (RDA) has named Orecon Ltd. of the United Kingdom to replace Oceanlinx Ltd. of Australia as the fourth wave energy developer to test its generating equipment at the U.K.’s offshore Wave Hub project.

Orecon was founded in 2002 as a �spin-out� business from the University of Plymouth. In 2008 it raised US$24 million of private investment for development of its wave-to-energy buoy, which can generate enough power for 1,000 homes.

�Orecon is at a crucial stage in developing its technology and we hope Wave Hub will be the springboard to full-scale commercialization,� RDA Head of Marine Energy Nick Harrington said.

Each Orecon buoy contains three wave chambers, similar to a bottle with the bottom cut off, standing in the water. As a wave passes, the water level rises and falls in the chamber, pushing air in and out of the neck of the bottle, turning a wind turbine that generates electricity.

If the Orecon wave chambers are of the proper length, relative to the frequency of the waves, they also will resonate like an organ pipe, producing more electricity, RDA said. The Orecon buoy contains three chambers of different lengths so that one chamber is always in resonance with incoming waves, giving the patented technology its name, MRC, for multi-resonant chambers.

Wave Hub tenders for electrical equipment

Harrington said RDA is tendering for electrical equipment and subsea cable for Wave Hub and has agreed to a new design that potentially will give more generating capacity as technology evolves. (HNN 5/20/08)

Wave energy devices are to be connected to Wave Hub’s electrical �socket� on the seabed, allowing them to conduct large-scale testing of their equipment before going into commercial production. The total 28 million pound (US$54.8 million) Wave Hub project is a proposed underwater cable system to connect wave energy projects off the coast of Hayle, Cornwall, England, to the national grid.

RDA originally named four developers to install test equipment at Wave Hub: Oceanlinx, with Oscillating Water Column patented turbine technology; Ocean Prospect Ltd., with 10 Pelamis P750 devices developed by Ocean Power Delivery; Ocean Power Technologies, with a 5-MW project based on its PowerBuoy wave energy converter; and Fred. Olsen Ltd., with a number of floating buoys attached to a floating platform that converts wave energy to electricity.

Oceanlinx withdraws from Wave Hub in favor of Australian project

RDA said Oceanlinx had been expected to use Wave Hub. (HNN 5/14/07) However, the Australian company subsequently received a grant from the Australian government and decided to make its next deployment in Australian waters.

Oceanlinx announced February 20 it received a A$2.95 million (US$1.93 million) grant from the Australian government under the AusIndustry Climate Ready program. The grant is to be matched by Oceanlinx and dedicated to design and testing of the next generation of Oceanlinx technology.

Oceanlinx said it successfully re-deployed its full-scale wave energy conversion unit at Port Kembla, Australia, in early February. First deployed in 2005, the unit has been undergoing planned refurbishment and modifications for several months. The company now is recommissioning the unit for continued testing.

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