Global wave and tidal power chiefs visit Orkney sea-trial test site as European Marine Energy Centre signs new development contract with Flemish developer

Marine energy visitors at EMEC - Note the Scotrenewables 'submarine' converter on the left
Marine energy visitors at EMEC – Note the Scotrenewables ‘submarine’ converter on the left

Wave and tidal energy companies from across the globe have visited Orkney to see at first hand why it is ‘the location to test and demonstrate marine energy development projects.’

The wave and tidal conditions in Orkney have attracted marine energy developers for many years – particularly since the inception of the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) over 12 years ago.

The group visited a number of locations in Orkney including the wave testing site at Billia Croo and the pier facilities at Hatston. Delegates were also able to quiz staff from EMEC about the range of facilities available to support their projects from what is still the world’s first and only accredited test laboratory of its kind.

Oliver Wragg, commercial director, EMEC, commented: “We were delighted to have had such broad interest in the day trip to Orkney and true to style the islands showed off with blustery yet sunny conditions, and six metre waves on display at our wave test site.”

Meanwhile, Flemish wave energy developer Laminaria has joined forces with EMEC, Innosea, Ghent University, and TTI Testing to support the development of their new wave energy converter in Orkney.

Four-year-old Lamanaria will be the first Belgian company to test at EMEC. The company’s “unique selling point” is its storm protection strategy, which allows the device to keep producing at nominal power ‘during the heaviest sea storms’ – many of which have sunk native ‘native’ Scottish wave power companies.

The LAMWEC project seeks to develop and test a 100kW Laminaria wave power converter, progressing from TRL stage 5 (technology validated in relevant environment) to 7 (system prototype demonstration in operational environment).

The main focus of the project is to prove the survivability of the Laminaria  converter,, which incorporates an innovative storm protection system, at pre-commercial scale in extreme storm conditions.

Steven Nauwelaerts, Chief Executive, Laminaria, said: “We are keen to come and test our technology at full scale at the challenging EMEC site. We are confident that our technology can survive any storm with conservation of nominal production. Together with our partners the aim of the LAMWEC project is to develop a device that is reliable and predictable in O&M.”

The project will culminate in the testing and performance assessment of Laminaria’s wave converter at EMEC’s grid-connected wave test site at Billia Croo, off the West Coast of Orkney in 2017.

Neil Kermode, Managing Director, EMEC, added: “LAMWEC is taking a step by step approach in developing each aspect of the device prior to real-sea testing at EMEC, and we’re looking forward to working with Laminaria and the other project partners throughout this process.”

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