Aquamarine’s offshore wave-power prototype generates first electricity


The WavePOD prototype
The WavePOD prototype


A milestone for standardised offshore wave power has been reached with Scotland’s WavePOD prototype producing its first power in laboratory tests.

The prototype, which comprises a drive train, cylinder frame and power take-off, has been developed by Bosch Rexroth and Edinburgh-based Aquamarine Power as part of a collaboration including some of Europe’s leading wave energy developers, utilities and academic institutions.

The goal is to develop an industry-wide power take off that will generate electricity reliably and cost-effectively at sea.

The 1:10 scale WavePOD trial was officially switched on by David Waldron, Bosch Rexroth’s UK Business Manager, to mark the start of the test programme at the Institute for Fluid Power Drives and Controls at Aachen University, Germany.

The WavePOD consortium partners also include wave technology developers Albatern, Carnegie Wave Energy UK, M4 WavePower, the Irish utility ESB and the Energy Research Centre at University College, Dublin.

Aquamarine Power’s private-sector shareholders include the ABB infrastructure conglomerate and Perth-based Scottish & Southern Energy plc

John Malcom, Chief Executive, Aquamarine Power, said: “We have already learned a tremendous amount through the design, build and commissioning of this WavePOD prototype.

The WavePOD prototype team at the switch-on
The WavePOD prototype team at the switch-on

“We are now generating electrical power, and the drive train is using real-life hydrodynamic data from Oyster 800 to ensure the power take off is experiencing exactly the same loads it would encounter at sea.

We aim to finish lab testing by March next year and plan to install a further prototype in real sea conditions on our Oyster 800 machine in Orkney in 2016.”

  • Meanwhile, the Orkney-based European Marine Energy Centre has been approved as an assessor under the EU’s Environmental Technology Verification (ETV) scheme. “By helping assure purchasers that the innovation claims are real, we believe ETV will get products to market sooner. The sooner they get used, the sooner the inventor and the environment feel the benefit,” explained Dave Wakefield, EMEC’s ETV manager.

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