Aquamarine Power says the Oyster wave energy generator is the “world’s largest working hydro-electric wave energy device”.
Oyster is now producing wave power by pumping high pressure water to its onshore hydro-electric turbine. The wave power will be fed into the National Grid to power homes in Orkney and beyond.
Speaking at the launch, Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond MP, MSP said: “Scotland's potential renewables capacity is estimated to be around 60 GW. Our waters hold around 10% of Europe’s wave power potential and as much as a quarter of its tidal power potential.”
Salmond also confirmed a further £1 million to Aquamarine Power for the development of Oyster 2, which could be installed within two years.
Oyster is Aquamarine Power’s first demonstration-scale wave energy device. Its performance will now be monitored and the results from the testing will provide a basis for the design of the next-generation commercial-scale Oyster.
The Oyster wave energy device is designed to capture the energy found in near-shore waves in water depths between 10 and 16 metres.
According to Aquamarine Power, the benefit of Oyster is its simplicity. There are minimal moving parts and all electrical components are onshore, making it robust enough to withstand the rigours of Scotland’s harsh seas.
The Oyster wave energy system consists of a hinged flap connected to the seabed at around 10 m depth. Each passing wave moves the flap which drives a hydraulic piston to deliver high pressure water to an onshore turbine which generates electricity.