Aquamarine Power hails strong test outcome

RENEWABLES pioneer Aquamarine Power caught a lifeline yesterday with the release of data showing that its flagship machine had delivered “exceptional” results in virtually all weather conditions.

Aquamarine Power's Oyster 800 wave energy converter. Picture: Scottish Renewables

The Edinburgh-based company – which laid off more than half of its staff at the end of last year – said an analysis of months of information showed its Oyster 800 met performance predictions even during major storms with waves of up to eight metres. In some cases it exceeded expectations.

Chief executive John Malcom said the results give Aquamarine confidence to develop newer versions at laboratory and test-tank scale, secure in the knowledge that subsequent full-scale machines will perform as predicted. “Very few, if any, other wave energy technologies have been able to verify as much data across as wide a range of sea states, including operations through major storms,” Malcom said of the tests, which were done at the European Marine Energy Centre in Orkney.

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“In simple terms, Oyster does exactly what it says on the tin.”

The firm made staff redundant after running up losses of £15.7 million. The decision was a second major blow for Scotland’s wave energy sector, coming just weeks after Pelamis Wave Energy was forced into administration.

“Our business plan is to continue to develop the next-generation Oyster at laboratory scale and focus on areas of the technology which are less reliable, in particular the power take off system,” Malcom said yesterday.

Earlier this month, Aquamarine Power put on hold plans to install up to 50 devices off the west coast of Lewis due to “technical issues”.

The company said it is holding discussions with potential partners about other options for the site.