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Published on November 30th, 2009 | by Zachary Shahan

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Largest Working Hydro-Electric Wave Energy Device in the World Launched



The largest working hydro-electric wave energy device was launched by Queen’s University Belfast, Aquamarine Power Ltd. and the Scottish government recently, bringing the global wave energy industry one major move forward.

The device is called Oyster. It is the only hydro-electric wave energy device producing power in the world, according to Queens University Belfast.

How does it work?

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Oyster pumps high pressure water to an onshore hydro-electric turbine to create power.

Two videos of how Oyster works, as well as real life footage of Oyster and interviews with key people involved in the launch are available on youtube via Aquamarine Power.

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Queens University Belfast reports: “Oyster was first conceived out of work funded by an Engineering and Physical Sciences Research grant to Queen’s between 2002 and 2004, to develop surging power-wave devices.” Aquamarine Power Ltd., a private Scottish company, then formed specifically with the purpose of developing this technology.

Professor Trevor Whittaker from Queen’s School of Planning, Architecture and Civil Engineering, the principal investigator on this project, says: “The launch of Oyster is both a major landmark in terms of carbon-free sustainable energy production and a proud day for Queen’s University Belfast, which already has a reputation as being one of the leading wave-power research groups in the world. “

Sustainable energy sources like wave energy are critical for addressing climate change, ocean acidification, and the countless related problems that can result from our outdated energy systems. Wave energy is taking strides forward and is looking to become a bigger name in the renewable energy sector.

Not Stopping with Oyster 1

The Queen’s University Belfast team is now starting to work on a 2nd generation Oyster to help further advance this technology. Whittaker says: “Devices such as these have the power to revolutionise the world’s energy industry and help combat climate change. And we aren’t stopping with Oyster. We are continuing to work with our partners in Aquamarine Power and the EMEC to develop the next generation of Oyster, by providing testing opportunities at Queen’s large wave tanks facility in Portaferry which is part-funded through the University’s Institute for a Sustainable World.”

While officially launching Oyster at the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) in Orkney, Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond briefly but powerfully pointed out the great benefits of this technology and the commitment of the Scottish government to advance it. He said:

“Our waters hold around ten per cent of Europe’s wave power potential and as much as a quarter of its tidal power potential. The European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) provides world-leading test facilities for Aquamarine and other companies to develop the technology needed to harness this huge untapped potential.

“I am delighted to confirm further R&D funding of almost £1m to Aquamarine Power for the development of Oyster 2, which could be installed within two years. Through our investments and initiatives such as the Saltire Prize, the Scottish Government is working to ensure we capitalise on our rich natural resources, to meet our ambitious climate change targets, to create more high-skilled green jobs and to make a substantial contribution to one of the most pressing global challenges.”

More comments, in a strong Scottish accent, by First Minister Salmond are here:

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Wave energy looks to be rising in the renewable energy sector. Looks like we will see more of this in the future.

via Queen’s University Belfast

Related Stories:

1) Wave Energy Looking for Breakthrough — Using Aerospace Design

2) WaveRoller Uses Swinging Door for Underwater Wave Energy

3) Underwater Kite Harnesses Ocean Energy

Image Credit 1: via Aquamarine Power Ltd.

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About the Author

is the director of CleanTechnica, the most popular cleantech-focused website in the world, and Planetsave, a world-leading green and science news site. He has been covering green news of various sorts since 2008, and he has been especially focused on solar energy, electric vehicles, and wind energy for the past four years or so. Aside from his work on CleanTechnica and Planetsave, he's the Network Manager for their parent organization – Important Media – and he's the Owner/Founder of Solar Love, EV Obsession, and Bikocity. To connect with Zach on some of your favorite social networks, go to ZacharyShahan.com and click on the relevant buttons.



  • Piccinini Raoul

    One of the most interesting technologies, (for the production of energy from waves) uses a new project, produced by K.I. Energy ( info@kienergy.co.kr ) the new system, product in Korea, (presented to “Korea Green Energy Show” in Seoul- October 13 – 16, 2009, based in Busan, Republic of Korea, a city of six million people, facing the Pacific Ocean), produces for 1 Kmq, of the sea surface or ocean, at least 1 GW or more, (instant, 24 GW for day, GW 8.760 – year), production equal to 1 nuclear reactor of a 1GW, operating at 100 % throughout the year, which produces 8.7 TW, but without the drawbacks of nuclear power. This new company does not sell systems, the company sell energy and can be contacted by governments or companies producing or distributing energy.

    Best regards, Piccinini G. Raoul.

  • Piccinini Raoul

    One of the most interesting technologies, (for the production of energy from waves) uses a new project, produced by K.I. Energy ( info@kienergy.co.kr ) the new system, product in Korea, (presented to “Korea Green Energy Show” in Seoul- October 13 – 16, 2009, based in Busan, Republic of Korea, a city of six million people, facing the Pacific Ocean), produces for 1 Kmq, of the sea surface or ocean, at least 1 GW or more, (instant, 24 GW for day, GW 8.760 – year), production equal to 1 nuclear reactor of a 1GW, operating at 100 % throughout the year, which produces 8.7 TW, but without the drawbacks of nuclear power. This new company does not sell systems, the company sell energy and can be contacted by governments or companies producing or distributing energy.

    Best regards, Piccinini G. Raoul.

  • http://greentech-bg.net Angel Kafazov

    Great device with big potential, no question about that. It is however not the only one, neither is it any different in the base concept. Which is fine, because technology like this is proven to have the ability to provide a large chunk of our energy needs and I am happy companies like this are actually developing and testing it.

    I want to know is how costly is this unit, how much does it produce and what is the ROI. I guess after some testing time we will now how it behaves on different marine environments and where is it best to deploy it.

  • http://greentech-bg.net Angel Kafazov

    Great device with big potential, no question about that. It is however not the only one, neither is it any different in the base concept. Which is fine, because technology like this is proven to have the ability to provide a large chunk of our energy needs and I am happy companies like this are actually developing and testing it.

    I want to know is how costly is this unit, how much does it produce and what is the ROI. I guess after some testing time we will now how it behaves on different marine environments and where is it best to deploy it.

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